DOT asks for public input on five-year strategic plan | Truck markets face 'everything shortage'

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021:

DOT seeks public input on upcoming DOT Strategic Plan

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced a request for comments, asking the public to help shape the department’s goals and priorities as it works to transform the nation’s transportation system making it safer, more accessible, more reliable and multi-modal.

DOT says it seeks to accomplish the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals by updating its Strategic Framework with the help of stakeholders, including the American public. The Strategic Framework will help to guide all of DOT’s work, including its implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law over its five-year timeline.

The request for comments provides owner-operators and the rest of the public an opportunity to consider and offer input to the draft DOT Strategic Framework as the agency develops its Fiscal Year 2022-2026 DOT Strategic Plan.

The draft DOT Strategic Framework reflects the Secretary's priorities for achieving DOT's mission through six strategic goals – safety, economic strength and global competitiveness, equity, climate and sustainability, transformation, and organizational excellence.

Specifically, DOT is asking for the public to weigh in on the following five questions:

  • What strategies or priorities should DOT adopt to achieve the Department’s strategic goals and objectives? 
  • How should DOT measure progress towards those priorities? 
  • What emerging challenges or opportunities in transportation warrant additional DOT activities or investments?
  • How can DOT best coordinate its activities with federal, state, local, tribal, labor, private sector, academic, nonprofit, international and other partners?
  • How can DOT best utilize additional programs and authorities in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to accomplish the goals laid out in the strategic plan? 

The public comment period is open here through Dec. 17.

[Related: From Biden DOT, owner-operators look for highways, parking, FLSA reform]

Analyst: Truck markets facing 'everything shortage'

In the release of its most-recent Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest, ACT Research underscored how supply-chain difficulties continue to constrain commercial vehicle markets. 

Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst, noted that while much of the focus has been put on silicon and semiconductors when it comes to shortages, "it is really an ‘everything’ shortage. ... constraints are not localized CV-industry-specific challenges, but continue as pandemic-driven failures in a globally reliant web of interrelated supply chains. Rebuilding complex global networks requires the system to spin at roughly the same speed, which it is decidedly not doing at present.”

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As with heightened inflation, ACT continued to forecast, the situation is "transient," according to Vieth. "The issues impacting production will pass." 

The magnitude of what's happening now, though, or how long it might continue, were somewhat unclear. But Vieth went on to highlight carrier profits' role at the heart of vehicle demand. Publicly traded truckload carriers "saw profitability land just short of best-ever profit margins in Q3, with seasonal adjustment boosting net profits to a record 8.6%, eclipsing the previous record set in Q1" this year.

He added, "we tend not to view freight as a backlog business, but rather a real-time expression of economic activity. In this unusual period, an actual freight backlog argues for strong freight fundamentals well into 2022.”

New Kenworth dealership opens in Ontario

To meet the growing needs of local truck fleets, owner-operators and those traveling through the greater Toronto area, Kenworth Truck Centres has opened a second full-service dealership in Mississauga, Ontario. 

The new 22,000 square-foot dealership is located at 6999 Ordan Drive there, approximately three miles from Kenworth Truck Centres’ primary Mississauga location at Dixie Road and Highway 401. The new location has access from major highways, including Highways 410, 407 and 401. 

“Mississauga is one of the largest and most densely populated truck areas in Canada,” said Vince Tarola, Kenworth Truck Centres president. “By opening a second location, we will be able to improve our customer service response time and accommodate our increasing customer demand.”

Kenworth Truck Centres – Mississauga North features nine service bays, 24-hour mobile service, and a 1,500 square-foot visual parts display supported by a 4,500 square-foot parts floor. 

The new dealership is open from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The phone number is 905-565-6608. 

Kenworth Truck Centres, a privately owned and operated Kenworth dealer since 1980, operates nine Kenworth dealerships in Ontario.

Love’s opens three new Speedco locations

Love’s Travel Stops is now offering tire, lube and light mechanical services at three new Speedco locations in Tennessee, Louisiana and Florida.

The new Speedco locations are at existing Love’s truck stops in Mosheim, Tennessee; Monroe, Louisiana; and Mims, Florida.

"As we continue into the holiday season, and one of the busiest times of the year for professional drivers, we'll continue to deliver fast and convenient service at Speedco and Love's Truck Care locations across the country," said Gary Price, executive vice president of Truck Care. "Love's has over 420 locations in 41 states that are ready to serve drivers and help get them back on the road quickly and safely."

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