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                            Trucking News: HOS Rules Suspended and Top Challenge for Shippers

                            FMCSA Suspends HOS Rules for Hurricane Ida Recovery

                            As freight brokers and carriers contend with an increasing number of obstructed routes and other delays in the wake of Hurricane Ida, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced an emergency declaration to give motor carriers and drivers more flexibility on hours-of-service.

                            What it means: Emergency declarations are specific to disruptive events. Carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency related to Hurricane Ida may be exempted from 49 CFR § 395.3, the rule governing maximum driving time. “Direct assistance” typically means hauling supplies, goods, equipment and fuel for the relief and recovery effort.

                            It’s a regional order: Currently, the declaration encompasses Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. Considering that other regions were affected by flooding and high winds as the storm moved northeast, FMCSA may issue a new order to include other states.

                            ELD use still applies: Motor carriers and drivers subject to the ELD requirements must continue to use ELDs, maintain ELD records and data for six months from the date the electronic record is generated, and produce, transfer and make ELD records and data accessible to law enforcement and safety officials upon request.

                            When the order expires: The declaration will remain in effect until the end of the emergency or through Sept. 28, whichever is earlier. FMCSA says that even though safety regulations may be suspended, drivers and carriers are expected to use good judgment and not to operate vehicles when drivers are fatigued or ill, or under any conditions presenting a clear hazard to other motorists using the highways.

                            COVID order extended: In addition, the agency announced that its emergency declaration with regulatory relief for truckers providing direct assistance in COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts was extended through Nov. 30.

                            The No. 1 Challenge for Shippers: Cost Management

                            With so much volatility in freight markets today, the No. 1 issue for supply chain executives should be no surprise: cost management.

                            A survey of 199 CEOs and senior business executives in supply-chain-intensive industries showed that 17% see cost optimization as their most important issue in the near future, followed by supply chain resilience (16%), according to Gartner.

                            What does that mean?

                            More technology investment: The majority of survey respondents said supply chain executives should focus on technology to reduce the risk of high costs and supply chain disruption, and 80% plan to increase year-on-year investments in digital capabilities.

                            Tech with purpose: “The trend appears to be shifting from a general, undefined ambition for ‘digital business transformation’ toward more targeted initiatives,” Gartner said. Survey respondents’ were most interested in technology for e-commerce/e-business (16%), customer interactions (9%), data analytics (9%) and customer experience (7%).

                            COVID-era collaboration: Gartner said CEOs anticipate the pandemic will have a lasting impact on their businesses, with over two-thirds of survey participants indicating they will use the pandemic as an opportunity to focus on redesigning the business. Further, 79% of CEOs expect to see significant and enduring behavioral changes in society, their organization and individuals as a direct result of the pandemic.

                            Digital workflows: For many organizations, the combination of cost management and technology for a better supply chain revolves around digital workflows. Shippers, brokers and carriers that can digitize manual processes and paperwork are more competitive and connected, with less friction, errors and wasted time.

                            Transflo is the industry leader in digital workflow technology for transportation. Find out more about Transflo’s digital ecosystem of products, including ELDs and telematics; document scanning; mobile driver solutions; and more.

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