September 2012 | Commentary | Checking In

Cutting Through the Noise

Tags: Trucking, Legislation, Public Policy, and Regulations

Felecia Stratton is the editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.

Any noise in the trucking industry is better than the alternative. The rumble of engines coming to life, and air horns sounding off with more certain frequency, are welcome signs as the economy waffles between recession and recovery. Still, a growing din in Washington threatens to drown out these echoes of progress.

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made highway safety a priority over the past few years, and few in the trucking industry can argue against that mission. But the looming impact of Hours-of-Service changes and mainstream adoption of the agency's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scorecarding program has carriers on notice—and shippers/consignees taking notice.

Elsewhere, Congress' much-delayed re-authorization of the highway bill offers further measures to ensure safer freight transport. But the extension is merely a temporary plan that lacks an overriding vision for funding and fixing U.S. transportation infrastructure problems.

Carriers and shippers, for their part, are busy working together to find better and more efficient solutions for moving over-the-road freight economically and sustainably.

Inbound Logistics' annual trucking issue cuts through the noise to provide some clarity as we assess the challenges and opportunities that await the trucking industry during this period of rapid change.

Merrill Douglas' Truckers Get the Message goes inside the Beltway to explore how new and proposed trucking legislation—Hours-of-Service, CSA, and the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act—will impact carriers and their customers. The industry fears new regulations meant to improve safety will sacrifice operational efficiency as capacity and driver shortages loom.

One proposed initiative that the FMCSA would like to enforce is the use of electronic on-board recording devices. In Goin' Mobile, Marty Weil looks at how mobile communication devices provide a more credible evaluation of driver behavior, while enabling better vehicle routing and fuel consumption performance.

To bring all these issues into focus, our annual Trucking Perspectives market research report pairs insight from both carriers and shippers to provide a comparative analysis of important industry trends, supported by empirical data and anecdotal observations.

Finally, Inbound Logistics' Top 100 Truckers puts a name to carriers that are pushing the industry to new service and innovation frontiers. While not necessarily the biggest, the Top 100 carriers offer services that closely match readers' needs. These truckers are making noise for all the right reasons.