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                            Trucking News: Parking, Trucks vs. Trains, Autonomous Trucking, and More

                            OOIDA, ATA ask for federal help on parking

                            American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, urging Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds be prioritized to boost the nation’s truck parking capacity.

                            According to ATA, there are more than 11 truck drivers for every one parking space. Studies show that on average drivers spend nearly an hour of driving time every day trying to find parking, and 58% of drivers say they have parked in unauthorized places at least three times a week.

                            The severe lack of truck parking ranks among the industry’s top concerns.

                            Shippers are choosing trucks over rail

                            U.S. rail intermodal transport volume was down nearly 12% in the first six weeks of this year versus the same period in 2021, according to the Association of American Railroads, after tumbling in the second half of last year.

                            Intermodal loads have lost a little over 1% of their market share to long-distance trucking since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the Wall Street Journal reports. Based on current freight volumes, that translates to about 30,000 additional long-distance truck moves each week. Spot truckload volumes moving from Los Angeles to Chicago were up 130% year-over-year in early February, Dean Croke of DAT told the Journal. Spot dry van rates on the route are up 59% year-over-year, or $1.04 a mile.

                            Brokers feeling good about 2022

                            Volume growth and contract rate increases are setting up a good year for freight brokers’ gross margins and earnings, according to a survey by Bloomberg and Truckstop.com.

                            About 44% of freight broker respondents said they had a higher gross margin in the second half of 2021 compared to the previous year, and 59% are optimistic about gross-margin expansion over the next six months. The biggest constraints on growth will likely be the availability of drivers and the ability to hire more brokers.

                            FMCSA driver-complaints database update to include broker category

                            Addressing comments about the National Consumer Complaint Database, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it will update the service to make it easier for truck drivers to file complaints against freight brokers and other intermediaries.

                            The FMCSA said it also plans changes to the NCCDB that will make it more intuitive. The database is an outlet for drivers to report harassment, coercion and other violations of commercial regulations. The agency uses the database to make decisions about which companies to investigate.

                            The changes were noted in a renewal of an information collection request that FMCSA plans to submit to the Office of Management and Budget for review and approval, after a 30-day comment period.

                            Waymo, C.H. Robinson accelerate rollout of autonomous trucking

                            C.H. Robinson is working with Waymo to introduce autonomous trucks into its freight network, starting with multiple pilots in Texas.

                            The two companies will use self-driving Class-8 tractors from Waymo Via to haul freight between Dallas and Houston for C.H. Robinson customers. C.H. Robinson and Waymo plan to collaborate on a broader goal of shaping and accelerating the development of autonomous driving technology in freight transportation.

                            “We see a great opportunity both in the near term and the long term for [autonomous vehicle] technology to make supply chains more efficient and sustainable, and ultimately we think it’s going to transform the way supply chains operate,” said Chris O’Brien, C.H. Robinson’s chief commercial officer.

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