News roundup, April 22: Carrier/broker handling surge in FEMA volume

Trucking news & briefs for Wednesday, April 22, 2020:

Carrier/broker working with FEMA on medical/grocery shipments
Circle Logistics announced that the company is arranging loads for the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and providing the agency and its partners with real-time visibility of critical medical supply and grocery shipments.

“The COVID-19 crisis is completely different from the normal disasters that we deal with as a country,” said Andrew Smith, Circle Logistics’ vice president of sales and operations. “When there’s a hurricane, forest fire or other natural disaster, supplies are going to the specific affected areas. With COVID-19, supplies are coming from and subsequently shipping — everywhere.” Circle shifted its entire network to help manage a 700% increase in volume from customers moving critical medical supplies, like personal protective equipment (PPE), respirators and cots, as well as grocery shipments for major brands.

Circle’s partnership with Descartes MacroPoint for load tracking provides real-time location, status, and estimated time of arrival of the COVID-19 loads. This visibility enables the agency to closely monitor and evaluate the movement of all of freight via one platform. Circle Logistics was established in Fort Wayne in 2011. In 2018, the company serviced more than $200 million in freight, from dry van and reefer to expedited, flatbed, auto, specialized and oversize.

States get more time to report driver violations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is waiving the requirement that state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) report driver disqualifications or convictions within 10 days due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

FMCSA says states will not be deemed non-compliant if they do not report drivers’ disqualifications within 10 days, as required by federal law. Instead, states will have until 90 days past June 30 – the end of the effective period of the notice – to return to compliance with the 10-day rule.

By law, states are required to post a driver’s disqualification or conviction to the driver’s record, transmit notification of the disqualification or conviction to the driver’s state of record and report a driver’s conviction to the Federal Conviction and Withdrawal Database within 10 days.

Department of Energy wants 30-minute break waiver extended
The Department of Energy is requesting the renewal of a waiver that allows its contract carriers’ drivers hauling security-sensitive radioactive materials to use 30 minutes or more of attendance time to meet the hours of service rest break requirements.

FMCSA first granted the waiver on June 30, 2015, for five years. The renewal would extend the waiver through June 29, 2025.

The exemption allows DOE carriers hauling radioactive materials to be treated the same as those transporting explosives.

FMCSA is seeking public comment on the request, which can be made at www.regulations.gov by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0370 when the request is published Thursday in the Federal Register.

Pilot donates $100k to St. Christopher Fund
The Pilot Company announced recently it has donated $100,000 to the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund to help truck drivers and their families in need.

“When professional drivers are in need, we want them to know they can depend on the help provided by the St. Christopher Fund,” said Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Pilot Company. “We must work together as an industry to ensure drivers have the resources they need to safely do their jobs, support their families and keep the supply chain moving. Despite these difficult and uncertain times, professional drivers continue to go above and beyond, and we are honored to do our part in supporting them with this donation.”

Additionally, Pilot has added sneeze guards at its diesel desks and other payment points at all locations to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The company has also distributed reusable and washable masks to its employees.

Fleet boosts driver hazard pay
Somerset, Kentucky-based CoreTrans recently announced a 5 cents per mile increase for its drivers to compensate and thank the drivers for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the increase, drivers can earn up to 49 cents per mile, based on experience, plus an additional 5 cents per mile hazard pay.

Additionally, the carrier is offering $2,000 paid orientation, a $5,000 sign-on bonus and more.

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