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Transportation News Bulletins - LTL and TL

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Feds: Boston plans to reroute trucks illegal
Monday, 16 November 2009 00:00

BOSTON—Federal transportation officials say Boston's efforts to stop trucks carrying potentially dangerous cargo from driving through the city during certain hours is illegal.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued the ruling after a challenge by the American Trucking Associations and a request for determination by the state Highway Department.

The federal agency said only it, through the state, can approve hazardous materials routes and was never consulted.

Truckers claim by forcing vehicles with cargo including asphalt and fuels to make long loops around the city, Boston was costing them fuel and productivity.

A city lawyer tells The Boston Globe the decisions were made based on safety considerations., 11/16/2009

Truckers encouraged to comment on road ban plan in NY
Thursday, 12 November 2009 00:00

Truckers have only 18 more days to comment on a proposed regulation that would prohibit them from using seven secondary roads in the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York.

This proposed rule, which was posted on the New York State’s Register by the New York State Department of Transportation, comes at a time when small-business truckers are struggling to eke out a living as freight rates continue to plummet and equipment and fuel costs continue to rise.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is encouraging its New York state members, their families, and out-of-state truckers who do business in the state to comment on the truck route restriction plan. Members are also encouraged to contact their lawmakers to let them know how this restriction could affect their trucking operations.

Comments can be submitted via e-mail or mailed to:

Yomika Bennett
Director of State and Local Relations
New York State Department of Transportation
50 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12232

Mike Joyce, director of legislative affairs in OOIDA’s Washington, DC, office, said truckers who oppose this ban need to make their voices heard.

Joyce said the NYSDOT should consider alternative options rather than banning trucks from certain key routes in upstate New York.

The proposed regulation was aimed mainly at restricting the large number of garbage trucks who use these secondary roads instead of the New York Thruway, but this restriction would apply to all heavy trucks that use these routes.

“We are certain there are other options out there that would better serve our members than forcing drivers to use the New York Thruway,” Joyce said. “This couldn’t come at a worse time for small-business owners who are trying to make a go of it during these tough times.”

Joyce said the Association favors a solution that offers some types of incentives for garbage haulers to run the Thruway instead of these secondary routes, such as a reduction in toll costs or a reduction in the ton-mile taxes truckers must pay.

Several weeks ago, OOIDA Senior Member Terry Button of Rushville, NY, had a representative from the NYSDOT attend a meeting at his farm, which has been in his family for more than 135 years.

He said the meeting was a “valuable one” and helped dispel some of the misconceptions about the trucking industry and the financial implications this would have on small businesses like his, which depends on secondary roads for his hay-hauling operation.

“I truly believe we have to use a commonsense approach when looking to implement something like this,” Button told Land Line recently. “Truckers need to start a dialogue with their lawmakers to explain what effects this could have on their businesses. I have paid for the roads that I use and need to maintain the vitality of my business—a business that continues to be regulated and overtaxed year in and year out.”

Here are the seven routes that will be affected by the ban:

  • Route 41 in Cortland and Onondaga counties;
  • Route 41A in Cortland, Cayuga and Onondaga counties;
  • Route 90 in Cortland and Cayuga counties;
  • Route 38 in Cayuga County;
  • Route 79 in Broome, Tioga, and Tompkins counties;
  • Route 89 in Tompkins and Seneca counties; and
  • Route 96 in Tompkins and Seneca counties.

Land Line Magazine, 11/12/2009

DOT Freight Transportation Index Falls 9.9%
Thursday, 12 November 2009 00:00

The Department of Transportation’s freight transportation services index fell in September from the previous year, DOT said Thursday.

The 9.9% decline in the freight index from September 2008 was the largest September-to-September decline in the 20 years in which the TSI has been calculated. The index dropped 0.5% from August after three consecutive monthly increases.

Before the September decline, the index had risen 2.8% between May and August, DOT said. It has now declined in 10 of the past 14 months.

The freight TSI is 15.2% below its historic peak of 112.9 set in May 2006, with the year 2000 as a baseline level of 100.

September’s 95.7 reading is a 2.3% increase from the recent low of 93.5 in May, when the index was at its lowest level since June 1997.

The freight TSI is a seasonally adjusted monthly index measuring the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries, including railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipeline and local transit.

Transport Topics, 11/12/2009

Transport CFOs Pessimistic on Recovery, Hiring
Thursday, 12 November 2009 00:00
Only 22 percent expect to add to payroll in next six months, survey finds

Financial executives at transportation companies are more pessimistic about the economy than their counterparts in other businesses, and few plan to hire workers in the next six months, according to a survey by research firm Grant Thornton.

Even fewer expect their headcounts to decrease in the next six months, reflecting sweeping cuts that have already been made at transporters from ocean shipping lines to trucking companies over the past year.

Only 22 percent of the transportation executives interviewed by the research firm said they will increase hiring in the next six months, compared with 24 percent for all businesses included in the survey. But only 16 percent of the transportation executives said they expect to reduce payroll in that period, compared with 22 percent overall.

The research firm interviewed more than 800 chief financial officers and comptrollers at public and private firms, including 32 transportation companies. Only 38 percent of the transportation CFOs expected the economy to improve in the next six months while 49 percent expect an upswing in that time.

More than half the transportation executives, 53 percent, said they expected economic conditions to be about the same in six months, compared with 41 percent of all respondents.

A majority—69 percent—expected pricing to be about the same as well, with only 25 percent of the executives at transportation companies expecting rates to climb, and they were slightly more optimistic than the CFOs overall who answered the survey.

To cut average cost per employee, 59 percent of the transportation CFOs said they were reducing bonuses, 45 percent cut raises, 36 percent were chopping stock options and other equity-based compensation and 32 percent are reducing health care benefits.

The economy will pull out of the recession in the second half of 2010, 41 percent of the transportation executives said, while 34 percent expect the recession to end in the first half of the year. Only 6 percent expected the recession to last into 2011 or longer.

Journal of Commerce Online, 11/12/2009

Dan Rather Produces Second Show on Trucking Industry
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 00:00

Dan Rather made a pit stop at Willie's Place truckstop at Carl's Corner, Texas, Monday to talk to a panel of people in the trucking industry, and to shoot a show that aired Tuesday night on HDNet. The segment is a follow-up to a previous HDNet story that Rather hosted, which focused on concerns related to truck driver training and schools.

According to Norita Taylor, spokeswoman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the panel discussion touched on topics including driver training, hours of service, and the economic environment and its effect on truckers.

Panelists included Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the OOIDA; an OOIDA member; Derek Leathers, chief operating officer of Werner Enterprises; Tim Dean from Werner; and Michael Belzer, author of "Sweatshops on Wheels."

Monday's discussion, which lasted an hour and a half, jumped all over the place in terms of trucking issues, and included a wide spectrum of people from the industry.

"I just think it's interesting that he's focusing in depth about trucking and going in all of these different directions," Taylor said, of Rather's show.

Taylor said the producers at HDNet approached the OOIDA back in February to make initial contact and launch their research into trucking issues. During that initial contact, Taylor asked the producers if they knew that there is no training required to drive a truck. "It was news to them," she said. Whether this was the catalyst for the first show on driver training is unknown.

Taylor believes the trucking industry caught Rather's eye following all of the media attention that started back in April 2008, when diesel prices reached $5 a gallon. And with the economy now as bad as it is, Rather is interested in why it's so hard for truckers to make a living.

The resulting "Dan Rather Reports" segment, "Truck Talk," aired Tuesday, Nov. 10. You can buy it via download on iTunes.

You can view the first segment, "Queen of the Road," at, 11/11/2009

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