Trends in the Trucking Industry

Introduction

The supply chain is divided into three separate areas: purchasing, manufacturing, and transportation.  The trends will be discussed in this annotated bibliography are those in the transportation leg of the supply chain and more specifically, surface freight transportation as it relates to the trucking industry. The first trend to be discussed in this research is the impact of the federal and state regulations of the motor carrier on the general freight long-distant trucking (NAICS code 484121, General Freight Trucking). These regulations have had a negative impact on the overall cost transportation of goods to customers, but a positive impact on generally public safety.  The second trend in my research is the impact that low cost of fuel has had on the trucking industry ((NAICS code 447190, Truck Stop Service Station)).  Low fuel costs present a boost for the trucking industry because overall savings will be passed on to customers.  The last trend in my research is impact of the domestic intermodal transportation on the supply chain, because of a shortage of drivers and an escalation in federal and state regulations (NAICS codes 482111, railroad transportation line-haul; 482112, railroad transportation short line;483113, intercostal freight transportation).

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Shultz, J. D. (2015, October 1). Trucking Regulations: Caught in a Web. Logistics Management (Highlands Ranch, CO), 54(10), 26. 

This magazine article analyzes the impacts that regulations have on the trucking industry. The author explains how federal lawmakers and states have led a regulatory assault on the trucking industry by producing over 600 major regulations, some of them being hours-of-service (HOS), emission control, safety reporting of accidents, hours-of-service, electronic onboard recorders, speed governors, sleep apnea testing among others. The author describes how the trucking industry is reeling from new regulations while at the same time seeing a backlog of other rules such as the HOS 34-hour restart rule.  The author believes that any costs incurred by the trucking industry due to the regulations will ultimately be passed onto shippers.  According to Mr. Schultz, an industry analyst, he believes that mega carriers have the economy of scales and the leadership to survive; however, smaller carriers do not. He believes that state regulators will follow suit and levy even more regulations on the trucking industry. Finally, the author believes that as states get more aggressive in regulating the trucking industry with more taxes and fees, carriers will be a ripe target for even more creative rules. In this case, the author serves to sensitize the population and specifically the legislators, and the authorities dealing with the trucking industry. 

The author therefore highlights the challenges affecting the trucking industry thereby appealing to the stakeholders to help in tackling the negative effects of the regulations in the industry. In this manner, the industry will improve and this will benefit the society by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the trucking industry. The author therefore challenges the government and the stakeholders in the trucking and transport industry in general to formulate that help in streamlining the trucking industry and benefits the industry at the same time. Although the author of the article above has valid points on the effects of government and state regulation on the trucking industry, he did not expound on the effects that these regulations have on public safety.  Safety regulations in the trucking industry are, as some would say, a necessary evil that is required to save lives. According to a HOS analysis conducted in 2011 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a reduction in crashes would follow due to the reduction in fatigue (HOS Final Rule, 2011).  These regulations will only be effective through education, financial assistance, enforcement and the cooperation between stakeholders.

Foxx, A. (2014, December 8) Why We Care About Truck Driver Fatigue: Retrieved from https://www.transportation.gov/fastlane/why-we-care-about-truck-driver-fatigue/

The second trend in the regulation of the trucking industry helps in explaining why the U.S Department of Transportation cares about the fatigue of the truck drivers.  The author begins by stating that saving lives of the public is the primary responsibility of the Department of Transportation.  The author points out that driver fatigue is a leading factor that causes accidents in the trucking industry that accounts for nearly 4,000 deaths per year, and that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for ensuring truck drivers are not driving while fatigued.  The author describes the “hour of service” rule for truck drivers as a requirement for drivers to take a real rest, and catch up on sleep before working another very long shift.  The author describes that the net effect of the rule is a reduction of the average maximum week a driver could work from 82 hours to 70 hours.  The author believes the FMCSA fulfilled its responsibility to protect the driving public and ensure the continued flow of commerce.  He says that the rule was challenged in court by the trucking industry, but the court found that FMCSA got it right.  According to the author, there is a rider in Congress that will suspend the update and return the average maximum hours to 82. In closing, the author states that it is the responsibility of the FMCSA to warn the Congress of the obvious risk and the disapproval of the rider.

I wholeheartedly agree with the author’s point of view that public safety is of the utmost importance.  His stance on the average weekly maximum of 70 hours is well documented, and new research demonstrates that long working hours without adequate recovery, leads to chronic fatigue and accidents.  I believe that the trucking industry as a whole is very responsible and with support from the FMCSA, it should be able to come together to find common ground instead of fighting in the court of law. It is the onus of the drivers and the stakeholders in the trucking industry to ensure that they appreciate the benefits that come with the new rule to ensure that they help in the reduction in the loss of lives. The opposition of the new rule by the trucking industry is seen as a skewed thought that only focuses on the increase in profits while giving minimal regards to the lives of the citizens and which should be key. The truck drivers need to streamline the industry and ensure that they judge the law objectively in light with the benefits that come a long with it. 

Kraus, E. (2016, “n.d.”). Trucking Industry Trend #3: Increased Cost. Retrieved from http://www.dbsquareinc.com/trucking-industry-trends-for-2016/

In this article, the author explained how truck fuel prices would impact overall carrier cost.  He describes how low fuel prices will increase the demand on an already taxed industry which has a problem with a shortage of truck drivers and regulations.  The author explains that low gas prices will create an increased demand in other transportation channels, such as railroads, shipping among others, which will increase costs for carriers and owner-operators.  This in turn will lead to higher prices for manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and ultimately the end user.  The author believes that the same pressure that drives costs upward will result in innovations in the logistics and transportation landscape. In this article, the author takes a keen analysis of the impacts that fuel prices have on the trucking in industry and the objective judgment of the author is of great importance in the introduction of fuel regulation system that would cap the price of fuel for the benefit of the trucking industry and the citizens as a whole. The article explains how the government can help in regulation of fuel prices to make the fuel more affordable and help in the building of the trucking industry.