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ATA chief Graves says despite its many challenges, trucking sector is well-positioned for future

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
October 09, 2012

It is well known that the trucking industry faces many challenges and obstacles. That is pretty much an understatement.

And at this week’s American Trucking Associations (ATA) annual Management Conference & Exhibition ATA President and CEO Bill Graves laid out all the issues on the table in a wide-ranging keynote address.

Not surprisingly, the ATA chief pointed to Washington as a major culprit for many of the industry’s concerns on a few different fronts, including: a sluggish economy; a “very dysfunctional federal government”; and how the currently assembled government “isn’t capable of getting the job done.”

Also high on the list of trucking industry concerns were regulations, namely CSA, HOS, and EOBR.

Here is what he had to say about CSA:
“We still believe that CSA is fundamentally the program that will make travel on the nation’s highways safer. But it must be implemented and managed in such a way as to instill confidence with the industry that our ‘buy in’ to the program will make our companies stronger and not be penalized by inaccurate data or misrepresentation by the shipping community or the media.”

Harsh? Maybe. But definitely true, save for that media part anyhow.

In addressing HOS, Graves explained that the current rule was getting the job done effectively (the new HOS rule scheduled to go into effect in mid-2013) and said the changes were the result of “political pressures brought to bear from the White House rather than the FMCSA believing further change was necessary or could be justified.”

Other industry challenges cited by Graves included the truck driver shortage, the weak economic recovery, insufficient federal support for infrastructure, tolling increases, and increasing fuel prices.

Even with these various challenges, Graves said trucking is on a strong road for future growth, commenting that “the essentiality of the industry and the demand for freight movement by truck—a growing demand for freight movement by truck—is unquestioned. The long-term macro outlook for trucking has never been better, but the near-term micro view continues to be very challenging.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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