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The partial shutdown of the U.S. government could delay the publication of a proposed rule to reform hours of service regulations, according to a U.S. DOT official.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officials hinted in December that a notice of proposed rulemaking offering potential revisions to federal hours requests could come as early as March. But the lingering closure of federal agencies will impede FMCSA’s ability to proceed with the rulemaking process, the official said.
Though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration remains mostly unaffected by the shutdown, operations at other branches of the DOT have been hampered. More than 20,000 U.S. DOT workers are furloughed, including more than 400 of the 1,470 employees at the DOT’s Office of the Secretary (OST). Also, 327 employees at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) 488 employees have been furloughed.
Those two agencies — the OST and the OMB — must review and approve the hours of service notice of proposed rulemaking before it’s published. Since operations at those agencies have been mostly shutdown, “everything’s stopped,” the official said, referring to the federal rulemakings process.
The official didn’t say whether FMCSA had filed an hours of service proposal with OST, which must clear it before it heads to OMB. But there’s “back and forth” required between the three agencies (OST, OMB and FMCSA), the official said.
It usually takes weeks, if not months, for rulemakings to be cleared for publication. Once cleared, the proposed rule will be sent back to FMCSA.
“Until [the shutdown] is rectified,” the official said, the hour’s rule will be hung up in that procedural process.
What’s more, when the government shutdown ends and employees at the OST and OMB return to work, they’ll have a large backlog of rulemakings and filings to address from all other government agencies, the official said, which will further impede the hours of service proposal.
FMCSA boss Ray Martinez has insisted the agency wanted to “fast track” the hours of service rulemaking. However, that was well before the shutdown fight ensnared D.C. The partial government shutdown is now in its fourth week and is the longest in U.S. history. President Trump and Congressional leaders remain at odds over funding for a wall along the southern border of the U.S.
Despite the hours of service proposal likely being delayed by the shutdown, other FMCSA operations remain unaffected. Agency functions like compliance reviews, grants to states for enforcement, new entrant carrier processing, reviews of DataQs challenges and issuance in CDLs, to name a few, have not been affected by the lapse in funding for the U.S. DOT. FMCSA derives much of its funding from the Highway Trust Fund, funded by gas and diesel taxes and not annual appropriations from Congress.
In sum, more than 800,000 workers nationwide have been furloughed by the shutdown. Employees at many government contractors have also been furloughed over the funding lapse.
Small fleet owner Scott Jordan once had something of a maxim he’d repeat about his business dealings. “In all the years I’ve been in business,” around seven years as an independent, he’d say, “I’ve never been screwed over by the broker or shipper, only the trucker.”
Last year, that changed in a big way on a load that Jordan booked for one of his owner-operators. Working with a sizable broker, he was led to believe the freight was something of a need-it-now item. Complications ensued, appointments for delivery were rescheduled repeatedly, and rate confirmations were updated to reflect the changes. After reaching an agreement to store the load for about a week, it turned into a $3,800 load, well over the initial rate.
Written by Todd Dills originally published here. Read the rest of the article.
Full article can be found here.
A bill was filed Wednesday in the U.S. House that would, if passed, exempt the smallest trucking companies — those with 10 trucks or fewer — from compliance with the U.S. DOT’s electronic logging device mandate on a permanent basis.
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Gene Schultz has been in the trucking business for nearly 60 years. Ask him what technological advances have made his job easier over the years and three things come to mind:
- Satellite trailer tracking
- The DAT load board
“We take it for granted now because it’s so easy,” Schultz says about the DAT load board.
“You type into the computer that you need a load from this city to that city and a second later it gives you dozens of loads to choose from,” he said. “You can do more today with one guy and the DAT load board than we could do with 10 back then.”
The early days
Schultz got his start in the trucking industry working for his father’s produce-hauling business in Rochester, Minnesota in the 1950s. When his father died in 1959, Schultz took over the business. At that time Schultz Transit had six trucks. Schultz grew the business to 235 trucks, 242 drivers, and back-office staff of 42, including warehouse and cross-border operations staff in Laredo, Texas. He liquidated the business in 1991, and in 1997 he and two other partners started another trucking company, Hiawatha Transport, which they later sold.
Rather than retire, in 2010 Schultz accepted a job in the transportation division of Ashley Furniture, the world’s largest furniture maker, based in Arcadia, Wisconsin. His job involves negotiating contracts, pricing, and finding loads for Ashley’s empty trucks after they deliver furniture from the manufacturing plants to distribution centers throughout North America.
Schultz says that DAT products have helped him fill Ashley trucks and have turned what previously were deadhead miles into a profit center for the company. He uses the DAT Power load board for finding loads, DAT RateView™ for pricing guidance, and DAT CarrierWatch® for some monitoring of carriers.
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This article can originally be found here.
Chad Boblett is the owner and driver of Boblett Brothers Trucking of Lexington, KY. Chad also founded the Rate Per Mile Masters group on Facebook, a communications hub for more than 18,000 members, including owner-operators, truck drivers, and other transportation and logistics pros.
It might seem counter intuitive, but I always make sure to post my truck on the load board when there’s plenty of freight to choose from. That’s the best time to get calls from brokers who are willing to pay higher than average rates for loads that are going where you want to go.
A lot of carriers don’t want to post their trucks in a hot market. They worry that they’ll get bombarded with too many calls. My advice: Include more detail in your truck posting, and don’t forget to include your destination.
A lot of truckers will say that they leave the destination blank because they will go anywhere for the right money. That could be true, but it also opens the door to receiving calls about a broker’s “problem” loads — the ones that are hard to cover. Brokers have two main problems when covering loads: either the rate is too low, or the load is going to a dead market that no one wants to go to, or both.
Who wants to get calls on a broker’s problem loads? If you’ve positioned yourself in a market with plentiful freight, reward yourself by getting calls on loads that you really want. Believe me, brokers would much rather call a carrier on a load that matches what the carrier is looking for.
The first thing I learned using the DAT load board was how to get positioned in a hot market. This was because I knew the negotiating power of receiving a call from a broker that needs my service versus calling on loads with less priority.
It Pays to Be Flexible
If you were a broker, would you make the most calls on loads that have to get picked up today or on the loads that can get picked up some time in the next three days? You’re going to call about the one that’s more urgent.
As a carrier, if you are not posting your truck, then you are making calls on load posts. Those loads might be the ones that are less urgent. Rates and negotiations favor the side that has more flexibility. When the broker calls you about a load that needs to move today, there’s not much flexibility. That’s when you can negotiate for an above-average rate.
Contact us today to learn more about DAT load boards, or call 800.551.8847.
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Legislators in at least four states have introduced proposals in recent weeks to stymie enforcement of the electronic logging device mandate, either by suspending funds for enforcement within their state’s borders or by asking the federal government to reconsider the mandate, enforcement for which began in December.