Banning commercial trucks from local streets

Trucking Association of Massachusetts past Chairman John Hamel recently submitted feedback on an important topic to the trucking industry. The Boston Globe recently asked, Should Massachusetts ban commercial trucks from local streets except for pickup and delivery?

In part, he wrote:

From a practical point of view, preventing trucks from taking the most direct route between two points would only increase the potential for accidents. By adding to the miles trucks have to travel, it would also mean expanded use of fossil fuels and create more congestion on our already overcrowded roadways.

Visit the Boston Globe website and read The Argument piece. You can also provide your opinion by voting.

EPA sponsors supply chain assessment

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay division partnered with the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) and Home Depot to complete a supply chain assessment using data from Home Depot, the third largest importer of cargo. From the Executive Summary

Global trade has increased significantly in recent decades, and some forecasters expect goods movement activity to triple or quadruple within the next few decades. All modes of freight transportation rely almost entirely on fossil fuels, and carbon emissions from marine transport have grown even faster than overall activity, principally due to inefficiencies in goods movement and lagging technology adoption. This study evaluates the capacity of current and future technologies and strategies to improve the energy and environmental performance of a real-world global supply chain. It also highlights the drivers of and barriers to a greener freight sector, and explores how to foster collaboration across industry, government, and civil society to facilitate future implementation of technologies and strategies.

From the International council on Clean Transportation.

This is one of the first studies to incorporate technology research, operational best practices, and emissions accounting methodologies in an in-depth assessment of a real-world supply chain. It highlights how analyzing real-world data need not compromise business confidentiality.

The full report can be downloaded here [PDF, 2.7 MB].

Advantage Truck Group delivers meals, fights hunger

Advantage Truck Group’s seventh annual event creates a community of giving within the trucking industry, helping to feed almost 16,000 people in Central Massachusetts.

Tomorrow – Dec. 18 – Trucking Association of Massachusetts member Advantage Truck Group (ATG) will lead the delivery of 3,000 fresh meals to six food pantry organizations in Central Massachusetts. It’s part of the company’s annual Haulin’ 4 Hunger program to help address hunger and food insecurity in the region.

The Haulin’ 4 Hunger team of ATG employees and industry sponsors (including TAM members) will lead a caravan of trucks and vans and hand-deliver fresh meals of hams and turkeys, along with assorted fixings, to organizations offering food pantries and other services to those in need. Read more about this effort at the Truck Parts & Service website.

Shrewsbury, MA (December 2019) —Advantage Truck Group (ATG), the largest Daimler Trucks North America dealer network in New England, is leading its annual Haulin’ 4 Hunger volunteer event to help combat hunger, an initiative launched in 2012 that has now provided nearly 16,000 fresh meals to Central Massachusetts residents who lack consistent access to enough food.

In Massachusetts, 1 in 11 people struggle with hunger. Through Haulin’ 4 Hunger, ATG is bringing together a team of employees and business sponsors (many of whom are owner-operator companies) to lead the delivery of nearly 3,000 fresh meals to six food pantry organizations.

“We believe it’s important for our company to make a difference in the communities where we live and work. Rather than gifting customers with a holiday basket, we decided to create a program – with the support of our customers – to give their gift to others,” said Kevin G. Holmes, President and CEO of ATG. “This simple idea has resulted in seven years of giving, and with the help of our customers, employees and sponsors we have been able to expand our reach and increase the number of fresh meals we provide to those in need.”

Read the full article at Truck Parts & Service online.

American Trucking Association logo

ATA responds to USMCA agreement replacing NAFTA

The US, Mexico and Canada have finalized a trade deal that will replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Chris Spear, the president of the American Trucking Association sent out a letter to members on Dec. 9. The text of the letter is included below.

Dear ATA Members:

A long sought agreement on USMCA has been reached. This agreement is a significant step toward ratification, which is expected to happen before the House and Senate adjourn for the year.

Trade is a Tier 1 ATA priority and considerable work went into moving USMCA forward. I want to thank our members, state associations, coalition partners and stakeholders for playing a key role in making this happen. Once again, our Calls on Washington are making a difference. Our voice is being heard!

The ATA team and I will continue to track the remaining steps and keep you apprised.

ATA’s official statement is:

“Now with a clear path to USMCA’s ratification, this is an historic victory for truck drivers, motor carriers and the entire American economy,” said ATA President Chris Spear. “The vast majority of trade in North America moves on truck, with $772 billion worth of goods crossing our borders with Mexico and Canada every year. USCMA will provide the certainty our industry needs while ensuring the United States remains competitive on the world stage.”

“Trade is a tremendous driver of revenue and creator of jobs in trucking, which is why passing USMCA has been so important to our industry,” said ATA Chairman Randy Guillot, president of Triple G Express Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana. “Trade with our two closest neighbors supports nearly 90,000 Americans in trucking-related jobs and generates $12.62 billion in annual revenue for our industry. As USMCA deepens our economic ties, we expect these figures – like our economies – to continue to increase.”

“In a Washington that has been gridlocked by partisan politics, this is a great example of what is possible in creating consensus around good policy,” Spear said. “Truckers and our economy depend on good policymaking, and this bipartisan agreement is a reminder of how government can make our lives and businesses stronger. I thank President Trump, Speaker Pelosi, and all who have put disagreements aside to achieve this historic agreement.”


Chris Spear

MassCEC expands scope to include transportation sector

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a quasi-governmental state agency working on clean energy initiatives throughout the Commonwealth, is currently expanding the scope of its projects into the clean transportation sector.

They have developed a new grant funding opportunity titled “Accelerating Clean Transportation Now” (ACTNow) that will accelerate adoption of a broad range of clean transportation options and focus on supporting innovative business models and use cases.

Additionally, they are creating a collaborative forum through Slack for various companies and stakeholders to begin establishing ideas and connections for the grant.

For additional information, contact MassCEC.

Maine proclamation of emergency concerning propane transport

Janet T. Mills, governor of the State of Maine, has declared – through proclamation – the current shortage of propane gas constitutes a civil emergency. This transportation exemption effective from Nov. 26 through Dec. 10 enables propane gas delivery crews to transport such gas more effectively to Maine homes and businesses.

From a Reuters article dated Nov. 22.

A strike at Canada’s biggest railroad, Canadian National Railway Co, entered its fourth day on Friday as talks continued with no signs of a deal and analysts warned that a prolonged dispute would weigh on economic growth. …

Canada’s biggest rail strike in a decade has sparked concerns that farmers and homeowners may run short of propane, although the union claims the railroad has manufactured that shortage.

The State of Maine’s proclamation is available as a PDF download at the State of Maine website and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.


Regency Transportation participates in air quality research

Trucking Association of Massachusetts member Regency Transportation has offered tractors to be part of an engine data collection campaign be run by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM). NESCAUM is a nonprofit association of air quality agencies in the Northeast.

The NESCAUM Board of Directors consists of the air directors of the six New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), New Jersey, and New York. Their purpose is to provide scientific, technical, analytical, and policy support to the air quality programs of the eight Northeast states. A fundamental component of their efforts is to assist member states in implementing national environmental programs required under the Clean Air Act and other federal legislation.

NESCAUM hosts committees and workgroups comprised of state staff who meet regularly to discuss issues ranging from regional haze to air permitting to mobile source issues. NESCAUM also provides forums for public education, promotes air quality initiatives, and hosts the Clean Air Academy, which provides advanced air quality training for state officials.

As part of the program that Regency is participating in, NESCAUM has obtained engine data loggers that will be installed in several chosen Regency tractors over the next few months.

ATRI logo

ATRI research shows dramatic increases in industry costs

The following press release from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) was sent Nov. 4, including a review of their most recent Ops Costs report. A free copy of the full report is available at the ATRI website. (Free registration is required.)

ATRI’s Newest “Operational Costs of Trucking” Research Shows Dramatic Increases in Industry Costs

Arlington, Virginia – The American Transportation Research Institute today released the findings of its 2019 update to “An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking.” Using detailed financial data provided directly by motor carriers of all sectors and fleet sizes, this “Ops Costs” research annually documents and analyzes trucking costs from 2008 through 2018. ATRI’s analysis provides industry stakeholders with an essential benchmarking tool, and government agencies with input on industry finances necessary for comprehensive transportation planning and infrastructure improvement analyses.

ATRI’s newest 2019 Ops Costs report documents the extremely robust economic environment that carriers and drivers experienced in 2018, but these same economic conditions put considerable upward pressure on nearly every line-item cost center experienced by carriers.

The average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers in 2018 increased 7.7 percent to $1.82. Costs rose in every cost center except tires, with fuel costs experiencing the highest year-over-year growth of 17.7 percent. Not surprisingly, insurance costs saw the second fastest year-over-year growth at 12 percent. As a strategic response to the severe driver shortage that existed in 2018, driver wages and benefits increased 7.0 and 4.7 percent, respectively – representing 43 percent of all marginal costs in 2018.

Repair & maintenance (R&M) costs, at 17.1 cents per mile in 2018, have increased 24 percent since 2012 – a counterintuitive increase given the record sales of new trucks and trailers. From 2012 to 2018, overall motor carrier operational costs have increased more than 11.6 percent – exceeding the 10.8 percent inflation rate for that same time period.

ATRI’s 2019 report again includes an “Industry Sector in Focus” analysis for tank fleet operators.

“ATRI’s 2019 Operational Costs research highlights the extent of the cost increases our industry experienced in 2018. Savvy carriers will continue to use this cost data as a benchmarking tool, and to better educate our customers on the financial and operating pressures our industry faces,” said Jerry Sigmon, Executive Vice President of Cargo Transporters, Inc. “The new 2019 report also gives us important explanations and hints on how to better manage the cost volatility we’ve been experiencing.”

Since its original publication in 2008, ATRI has received over 16,000 requests for the Operational Costs reports.

A copy of this report is available from ATRI at

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.

TAM legislative committee meets with T4MA

As the Massachusetts legislature prepares to debate new transportation revenue options, TAM continues to meet key advocacy groups to exchange ideas and educate them about the trucking industry in Massachusetts.

On Friday of last week, members of TAM’s legislative committee met with Chris Dempsey, Director, and Charlie Ticotsky, Policy Director, from Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA), a diverse coalition of more than 70 member and partner organizations. T4MA has been a noted and vocal supporter of initiatives increasing the amount of revenue being directed to our Commonwealth’s entire transportation network – whether road, rail, water, transit or bike path.

The discussion focused on shared interests (i.e. reducing congestion, improving the quality of roads and bridges, reducing emissions, etc.) and shared hopes for additional revenue models. While there was some disagreement over the certain ideas about congestion pricing and vehicle miles tolled, there was a mutual appreciation for the concerns and impacts raised by each organization.

For TAM’s purposes, the meeting provided us with the opportunity to share insights as to what the real impacts certain measures have on trucking, generally, and Massachusetts trucking, specifically.

We look forward to the opportunity of working with groups like T4MA further to create transportation solutions that meet the needs of all transportation system users. Stay tuned for further updates about our transportation financing conversations.

In the meantime, many thanks to T4MA for their willingness to meet. For more information about T4MA, visit their website.

Massachusetts legilsature

Fall legislative update

As the Massachusetts legislature picks up its pace, TAM continues to do the same on the legislative front. At the moment, TAM has been focused on its rolling stock initiative, the transportation finance discussion and the governor’s CDL reform legislation.

On the first item, TAM has begun to broaden our reach to elected officials and non-government organizations that support stronger environmental and public safety initiatives. While rolling stock has a tremendous economic development upside, we have been making a concerted effort to ensure that the initiative receives support from a wide range of interests.

With respect to transportation finance, TAM has been meeting with House and Senate leadership to share TAM’s views on the need for transportation finance and, as importantly, which funding mechanisms will provide for shared responsibility and accountability. As you may know, TAM is a participant in the Massachusetts Business Coalition for Transportation with many of the leading business organizations in the Commonwealth.

Finally, with respect the governor’s CDL reform legislation, TAM continues to await the public hearing on the new filed matter. Currently before the Joint Committee on Transportation, this legislation would have a number of positive public safety impacts, but also may cause a couple unintended consequences. TAM has been reaching out to other impacted industries and associations to ensure they know of both the benefits and potential shortcomings of this legislation.

Stay tuned for more information as the Massachusetts legislature enters the Fall rush of business.