Hearing focuses on supply chain challenges for trucking industry

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During a hearing on Thursday, representatives of the trucking industry stakeholders testified to the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit how their industry can help overcome supply chain challenges.

The hearing, led by U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AK), was a follow up to a hearing held in February that focused on ongoing supply chain challenges and identifying potential legislative solutions. Trucking industry representatives, as well as representatives from other highway infrastructure stakeholders, said EPA regulations and shortages of truck parking locations have exacerbated the nation’s supply chain problems.

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh said EPA regulations have made buying vehicles and operating them more costly. Greenhouse gas proposals, and regulations covering Nitrous Oxide emissions force small business truckers to face higher costs for new vehicles and insufficient time to implement new manufacturing standards, he said.

Additionally, a lack of safe parking spaces makes trucking less safe for truckers, and other drivers.

“Finding a safe place to park is something most people take for granted, but it’s a daily struggle for hundreds of thousands of long-haul truckers,” he said. “In addition to creating supply chain inefficiencies, the truck parking shortage is negatively affecting highway safety for our members and those with whom they share the road. Truckers find it increasingly difficult to rest when they are tired or need to comply with rigid federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.”

The lack of parking spaces also slows down the supply chain, said David Fialkov, executive vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Truck Stop Owners.

“Improving the supply chain is not simply a question of preventing a line of ships waiting for berths at some of the nation’s major ports. It is also a matter of making incremental progress in our surface transportation system to help ensure reliability and efficiency. Congress can enhance safety and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens,” he said. “When professional drivers spend less time looking for parking, they have more time to move products to their destination. It also lowers the cost of shipping those products, which in turn lowers the costs for consumers.”

Witnesses also discussed updating the motor carrier safety rating system and recruiting more men and women into the truck driving profession.