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Friday Short Haul - Operation Safe Driver Week, Canadian border, fuel cell semis hit the road 7/10/2020 Werner, DOE earn FMCSA ELD and HOS exemptions 7/8/2020 TuSimple announces its Autonomous Freight Network to expand driverless freight hauling throughout the nation 7/6/2020 Friday Short Haul - House passes Moving Forward Act, YRC gets a bailout, and trucking jobs on the increase 7/3/2020 Group pens letter objecting to proposed EV charging stations at highway rest areas 7/1/2020 Carriers' virus response gets kudos at TCA virtual meeting 6/29/2020 Friday Short Haul - Convoy brokerage, CLP waiver extended, $2 million amendment passed, two sentenced for CDL fraud 6/26/2020 Nuclear verdicts strangling trucking companies; not so, say lawsuit attorneys 6/24/2020 Eight carriers in lawsuit for not poaching other companies' drivers 6/22/2020 Friday Short Haul - Post-virus speeds return to normal, $2 million insurance minimum proposed, WIT looking to honor an influential woman 6/19/2020 FMCSA extends 3 COVID-related waiver declarations 6/17/2020 Truckers say they will refuse to enter cop-defunded cities 6/15/2020 Friday Short Haul - Truckers love guns, freight broker leader resigns, avoiding riots 6/12/2020 Cargo theft on the uptick during COVID-19 era 6/10/2020 California voters will get a chance to scrap AB 5 6/8/2020 Friday Short Haul - Prime crash verdict, Teamsters applaud INVEST Act, OOIDA opposes broker bond changes 6/5/2020 Dwell and detention times begin to decrease post-virus 6/3/2020 CRST fighting another battle over driver poaching 6/1/2020 Friday Short Haul - Driver shortage is over, Amazon's brokerage goes national, and lawyers are after carriers for nuclear verdicts 5/29/2020 Freight industry considering post-COVID-19 strategies 5/27/2020 FMCSA to consider increasing HOS for autonomous drivers 5/25/2020 Friday Short Haul - Trimble MAPS, rate of fatalities increase, Comcar bankruptcy, driver pay on the rise 5/22/2020 FMCSA: Long-awaited final HOS revisions announced 5/20/2020 2016 trucking documentary released to YouTube for public viewing 5/18/2020 Friday Short Haul - Reusing morgue reefers, ATRI research priorities, FMCSA HOS declaration 5/15/2020 WIT honors two women in the trucking industry 5/13/2020 Freight brokers push back against "price gouging" accusation 5/11/2020 Friday Short Haul - Tank truck revenues decline, former Arrow CEO gets early prison release, not-preventable crashes 5/8/2020 ATRI and OOIDF team up for comprehensive COVID-19/trucking survey 5/6/2020 U.S. military has unique needs for truck platooning 5/4/2020 Friday Short Haul - Truckers protest low rates, 1 million masks given to drivers, SecurSpace app finds parking 5/1/2020 WorkHound analyses what drivers think about the COVID-19 crisis 4/29/2020 Group pushes back on temporary increased weight limits 4/27/2020 Friday Short Haul - 'Thank God for truckers!' CA state senator proposes bill to suspend AB5, TA furloughs 3,000 workers 4/24/2020 Truckers say distracted driving is on the rise 4/22/2020 Trucking leaders think some recent changes might become permanent in the industry 4/20/2020 Friday Short Haul - "Your papers please," skills testing waiver, masks required in Canada 4/17/2020 Truckers report in on their treatment during these COVID-19 times 4/15/2020 FMCSA acts quickly to keep the new-driver pipeline flowing 4/13/2020 Friday Short Haul - Weight limits increase, food trucks not wanted in rest areas, FMCSA extends HOS exemptions 4/10/2020 Trucking industry concerned about state licensing agency closings 4/8/2020 California AB-5 advocates react to carriers' COVID-19 good deeds 4/6/2020 Friday Short Haul - Schneider's error, Change.org petition, Teamsters Canada demands 4/3/2020 Authors: 'Legacy' carriers ignore autonomous technology at their peril 4/1/2020 COVID-19 scare: State gun laws come under scrutiny 3/30/2020 Friday Short Haul - Inspection blitz postponed, COVID-19 webinar, FHA urges states to keep rest areas open, fewer cars means faster truck deliveries 3/27/2020 DOT and FMCSA issue COVID-19 responses 3/25/2020 Starsky Robotics calls it quits 3/23/2020 Friday Short Haul - Weigh station parking, rest areas reopen, HOS waiver expanded, freight prices increase 3/20/2020 Truck drivers mostly exempt from coronavirus lock downs 3/18/2020 HOS rules relaxed for COVID-19 relief effort 3/16/2020 Friday Short Haul - Western Express recovers from Tennessee tornado, driver involved in two accidents six minutes apart, another carrier quits 3/13/2020 Daimler's electric vehicles and autonomous trucks continue real-world testing 3/11/2020 Predictive technology increases driver safety, benefits carriers 3/9/2020 Friday Short Haul -- Coffee drinking drivers, Amazon coronavirus email, FMCSA safety summit 3/6/2020 AIRman introduces no-crank technology to landing gears 3/4/2020 Roadmaster shows how to reduce driver turnover 3/2/2020 Friday Short Haul - CBD users beware, 8,000 violations revealed in Clearinghouse, laptop theft lands Alabama trucker in prison 2/28/2020 Canada company offers easy access to spare trailers 2/26/2020 Roadcheck could result in temporarily higher freight rates 2/24/2020 Friday Short Haul - Self-driving yard trucks, Knight-Swift partners with Truckstop.com, Security guard shoots driver 2/21/2020 Training providers offer a diversity of options 2/19/2020 Idaho eases hemp transport prohibition; too late to help arrested drivers 2/17/2020 Friday Short Haul - Tennessee carrier quits, signs a carrier is going down, retaining drivers 2/14/2020 New phone app hopes to alleviate shipper waits 2/12/2020 Senate Transportation Committee gets an earful from trucking execs 2/10/2020 Friday Short Haul - Best fleets to drive for, FMCSA delays ELDT rule, Cold Carriers closes doors 2/7/2020 Baylor Trucking deals with consequences of ELD outage 2/3/2020 WIT announces first-ever Driver Ambassador, names February Member of the Month 2/3/2020 Friday Short Haul - ATA at White House USMCA signing, AB-5 fight continues, toughest jobs 1/31/2020 May dates announced for this year's roadside inspection blitz 1/29/2020 States work to toughen up left-lane-hogging laws 1/27/2020 Friday Short Haul - Pilot Flying J name change, CRST-Swift lawsuit, Schneider named innovator 1/24/2020 Seven drivers named as TCA's Highway Angels 1/22/2020 Travel advisories and restrictions announced for Midwest weekend storm 1/20/2020 Friday Short Haul - Senators demand GPS app updates, Jason's Law survey, ATA applauds USMCA, FMCSA's truck crash survey 1/17/2020 Research group recommends a national autonomous truck policy 1/15/2020 A glimpse into driving long-haul in China 1/13/2020 Friday Short Haul - Court blocks AB-5, SBTC vs. FMCSA, Can Opener Bridge 1/10/2020 Loses appeal: Walmart ordered to pony up $54 million to drivers 1/8/2020 WIT and Walmart seek nominations for Female Driver of the Year 1/6/2020 Friday Short Haul - Sweatshop on Wheels, judge exempts truckers from AB-5, Fleetwood closes doors 1/3/2020 Trucking Truth's top stories for 2019 1/1/2020 Random drug tests of drivers to double in 2020 12/30/2019 Friday Short Haul - New EV semi, tonnage down, turnover up, Grapevine fatality, runaway truck tires demolish car 12/27/2019 Trucking industry goes out of its way for Christmas charitable giving 12/25/2019 Fuel card provider hit with FTC lawsuit 12/23/2019 Friday Short Haul - Driver coercion, zero emissions, driver fatalities 12/20/2019 Hard enforcement for ELD compliance now in effect 12/18/2019 State CDL agencies get reprieve from drug & alcohol clearinghouse deadline 12/16/2019 Friday Short Haul - JB Hunt's Wreaths Across America, Plus.ai butter run, states look for zero emissions 12/13/2019 Carriers muster to pick up Celadon drivers, employees 12/11/2019 Will Amazon's pay-per-day plan influence the industry? 11/27/2019 Freight volume and rates downturn turns into a 'bloodbath' 11/25/2019 Friday Short Haul - Independent contractors getting booted out of CA, winter weather resources, ransomware attack 11/22/2019 Knowing when to say goodbye to an unprofitable shipper 11/20/2019 Schneider donates trucks; Congress considers women-driver-friendly bill 11/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - CTA files lawsuit against California, Highway Hero nominations sought, video of "Move Over" crash 11/15/2019 Tesla announces new electric Semi model 11/13/2019 Not everyone happy with potential FMCSA clearinghouse delay 11/11/2019 Friday Short Haul - AI taking driving jobs, CRV scam, Truckers protest AB-5, ELDs quit working 11/8/2019 Investigators cracking down on truck accident fraudulent lawsuits 11/6/2019 So you want to start your own trucking company? 11/4/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA emergency exemptions, snow plows, FedEx employee bribery charges 11/1/2019 Human smuggling via big rigs on the increase 10/30/2019 Carriers, drivers look at ways to deal with California's AB-5 10/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Millennials and trucking, Truckers Christmas Group, Navistar settlement 10/25/2019 Too many drivers still don't know to "Move Over" 10/23/2019 Are trucker strikes a thing of the past? 10/21/2019 Friday Short Haul - Passenger car drivers, spotted lanternfly, women drivers 10/18/2019 OOIDA makes final push for better HOS rules 10/16/2019 Car-truck crash fatalities continue to increase 10/14/2019 Friday Short Haul - Amazon's fleet of day cabs, legislator's disclosure, WTA petition 10/11/2019 ATA chief takes on truck-accident lawyers 10/9/2019 Lonely on the road? Get a furry friend 10/7/2019 Friday Short Haul - Lab-grown meat, fraudulent freight brokering, FMCSA HOS committee, FMCSA Clearinghouse 10/4/2019 UPS takes giant leap in its drone delivery program 10/2/2019 Female drivers are safer bet for trucking companies 9/30/2019 Friday Short Haul - Embark gets financing, FMCSA announces safety grants, Covenant exits Mexico routes, and trucking statistics 9/27/2019 Emissions standards battle heats up between the EPA and California 9/25/2019 Smog checks in the future for California truck drivers 9/23/2019 Friday Short Haul - Volvo Dynamic Steering, Meals for 18 Wheels, speeding crackdown, OOIDA opposes legislation 9/20/2019 Telematics could be insurance-premium-saving boon for fleets 9/18/2019 54 percent of survey respondents still not impressed with telematics technology 9/16/2019 Friday Short Haul - Walmart video, it's churn, not shortage, California's independent contractor bill, hemp drivers plea 9/13/2019 TCA honors three Highway Angels 9/11/2019 Now they're talking about "smart" trailers 9/9/2019 Friday Short Haul - Detention-time comments, truck orders decline, diesel fuel shortage 9/6/2019 Berkeley study says reducing independent truckers can alleviate climate change 9/4/2019 Clearing up concerns about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse 9/2/2019 Friday Short Haul - Hurricane Dorian, Speed limiter bill, Thank a Driver campaign 8/30/2019 Georgia jury awards $280 million for truck-driver-caused multi-fatality 8/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - New eCascadias, Top cities for truck driver jobs, Push against driverless trucks 8/23/2019 Decision on California drivers' employee/contractor status coming down to the wire 8/21/2019 UPS jumps on autonomous bandwagon with TuSimple investment 8/19/2019 FMCSA publishes proposed HOS rule changes 8/16/2019 Fleets, drivers coming to like automated manual transmissions 8/14/2019 CVSA asks for new truck crash study 8/12/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS revisions delayed, AEB mandate proposed, Koch sued for sex discrimination 8/9/2019 Kodiak Robotics takes lead in autonomous truck industry race 8/7/2019 New York City combats rash of cyclist/truck clashes 8/5/2019 Friday Short Haul - CRST wins lawsuit, OOIDA opposes insurance hike, UPSNav 8/2/2019 Mechanics shortage equals driver shortage in intensity 7/31/2019 DOT announces almost 1$ billion in grants to fix infrastructure 7/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - DOL on sleeper pay, UPS drone delivery, Geowiz ELDs 7/26/2019 FMCSA takes a look at assault, harassment of female and minority drivers 7/24/2019 It's hot out there, what's a trucker to do? Can't idle. 7/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Utah truck rollovers, aging truckers, lifetime CDL bans 7/19/2019 Truck-mounted LED billboards coming under fire 7/17/2019 Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills 7/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status 7/12/2019 ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant 7/10/2019 New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters 7/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week 7/5/2019 Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July 7/3/2019 Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks? 7/1/2019 Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks 6/28/2019 Experts warn of active wildland fire season 6/26/2019 More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking 6/24/2019 Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award 6/21/2019 Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs 6/19/2019 Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers 6/17/2019 Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo 6/14/2019 HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers 6/12/2019 FMCSA takes a further look at detention time 6/10/2019 Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest 6/7/2019 Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week 6/5/2019 Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo 6/3/2019 Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments 5/31/2019 Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration 5/29/2019 Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts 5/25/2019 Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles 5/24/2019 Autonomous trucks on USPS test run 5/22/2019 Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules 5/20/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC 5/17/2019 Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA 5/15/2019 Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins 5/13/2019 Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole 5/10/2019 Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South 5/8/2019 Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets 5/6/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers 5/3/2019 'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states 5/1/2019 Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers 4/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business 4/26/2019 ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for 4/24/2019 Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks 4/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings 4/19/2019 Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels 4/17/2019 Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business 4/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise 4/12/2019 Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need 4/10/2019 Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border 4/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules 4/5/2019 Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates 4/3/2019 Don't get scammed by skimmers 4/1/2019 Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking 3/29/2019 Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers 3/27/2019 Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy 3/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap 3/22/2019 Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising 3/20/2019 FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website 3/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award 3/15/2019 The hidden danger of looking but not seeing 3/13/2019 Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout 3/11/2019 Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire 3/8/2019 Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases 3/6/2019 Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness 3/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports 3/1/2019 New tax changes hit drivers hard 2/27/2019 FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military 2/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use 2/22/2019 Congress committee looks at state of America's highways 2/20/2019 Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same 2/18/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks 2/15/2019 Detention - A problem still in search of a solution 2/13/2019 February Highway Angels honorees named 2/11/2019 Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets 2/8/2019 Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage? 2/6/2019 Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage 2/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team 2/1/2019 Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly 1/30/2019 California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards 1/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers 1/25/2019 LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30 1/23/2019 2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry 1/21/2019 Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018 3/28/2018 TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award 3/7/2018 TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year 2/28/2018 Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers 2/26/2018 New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018 1/11/2018 Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup 12/21/2017 Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks 12/12/2017 Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017 12/8/2017 Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way 8/10/2017 Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road 7/18/2017 Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach 7/13/2017 Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal 7/6/2017 Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice 6/29/2017 The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers 6/15/2017 The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017 6/8/2017 We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better 5/30/2017 Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon 5/25/2017

Freight industry considering post-COVID-19 strategies

Dave Wickenhauser on Wed, May 27, 2020

Last Updated: Tue, May 26, 2020


Something virtually unheard of pre-COVID-19 is that airlines are now taking freight as cargo in passenger seats in place of live customers. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

As the nation rebounds from the near-catastrophic, economy-killing, over-reaction to the COVID-19 virus, trucking industry leaders are beginning to look toward the future of the industry the rest of this year, and into the years to come.

What everybody seems to agree on is that in some regards changes brought about by the virus panic will have long-lasting effects, and could alter the trucking landscape probably forever.

As reported by Fleet Owner, three trucking industry leaders discussed the COVID-19-related changes in the industry and the future of trucking during a Northwestern University Transportation Center roundtable discussion recently at the Evanston, Illinois, campus.

Bill Matheson, president of intermodal services at Schneider National, said Schneider's concern about freight out of Western ports took a turn from interruptions caused by tariffs and the trade war, and changed to worrying in February about disruptions caused by the fear of the COVID-19 virus coming in with shipping from China.

Matheson said he believes the nation is still in the middle of the virus crisis because having 30 million people – consumers – out of work will continue to have an economic impact on the demand for goods.

One of the problems faced by carriers as parts of the nation open up the economy, according to Matheson, is that some states are re-opening at different rates than the others, thus creating major logistical challenges.

He does believe, however, that the economy is in a comeback – how much depends on the attitudes and economic health of consumers, and what long-lasting effect that social isolation and social distancing mandates has had on the public psyche in general.

Ben McLean, CEO of Ruan Transportation Management Systems, told attendees that one thing learned during the crisis is that trucking companies rely too much on paperwork throughout the supply chain.

Going forward, much of the day-to-day transactions between drivers and shipper can be digitized in order to become touch-less. He also emphasized that tracking technology could be better implemented to connect drivers with freight.

Ruan, according to McLean, has an integrated approach to operations that reduces "touchpoints" and keeps all personnel within the supply chain communicating with each other.

Andrew T. Boyle, co-president of Boyle Transportation, told the roundtable attendees that the carrier employed contactless delivery protocols where drivers relied on mobile apps for proof of delivery.

Some COVID-19 changes are here to stay

While many of the early mandates to help prevent spread of the virus like cleanliness and social distancing were adopted by companies, now that the curve has flattened and the economy is re-opening carriers and associated trucking industries are finding themselves committed to maintaining some COVID-19-related standards.

For example, as reported at Trucks Parts and Service online, garages might continue to employ communication technologies post-virus that they instituted during the crisis.

They are discovering that virtual communication tools are actually more efficient than the old face-to-face procedures. Instead of customers bringing equipment for repair to shops and communicating with service writers and technicians, diagnostics and followup repair discussions are now being conducted by phone or via online service management portals.

It is reported that some truck industry dealers and garages forced to upgrade to virtual communications because of virus mandates now wish that they had adopted the technology earlier, with one saying, “It’s a shame it took a pandemic for the rest of us to get on board.”

Another, in explaining that their change to virtual communication with claims adjusters has sped up the repair process, said, “I can remember having to wait a week or more for an independent appraisers to just show up here,” says Rodney Rowland, manager, collision and paint center, Lakeside International Trucks. “Now my goal is to turn an estimate in 24 hours or less.”

An article at Inbound Logistics echoed the above sentiments about technology driving post-virus communications from here on out.

Port Everglades, in Broward County, Florida, for example notes that 42 percent of shipping and freight companies say they will change their supply chain strategies because of the virus crisis, with 62 percent saying those changes will be in the area of technology.

Creative companies will be looking at innovative delivery options like drones, but will also emphasize enacting tighter delivery schedules with more efficient routing, and more streamline and safer operations at docks.

Freight spot rates may be on the increase

According to FreightWaves, while freight volume remains relatively low and capacity remains high, meaning freight rates are still continuing their recovery, some lanes watched by the industry are beginning to experience some stronger movement.

Freight making the trek from Los Angeles to Seattle, for example, began showing some encouraging improvement beginning in mid-April. And watchers are keeping an eye on other popular lanes like Los Angeles to Dallas and Chicago to Atlanta for gaining momentum.

Spot freight rates on the run from Los Angeles to Dallas are already at the level of the peak for some prior years. But FreightWave's analysis is that because the largest carriers operate with contract rates, sometimes at the level of 95 percent or more over spot rate loads, the spot rate improvement as the economy climbs out of the virus-crises dudgeon might not be enough to keep the smaller and independent carriers from starving on their spot-rate diet.

Could a virus-related change in the airline industry impact trucking?

The airline industry, strapped for customers because of the virus panic, struggles for existence while sidelining hundreds of airplanes in its fleets.

One innovation that is keeping some airlines flying is replacing live customers in their seats with cargo.

The FAA has approved a temporary measure, good through the end of this year, that allows airlines to fly in cargo-only mode with freight stored not only in their baggage holds, but up in the cabin strapped into seats normally occupied by live passengers.

Airlines can get up to 30 percent more cargo capacity, about six to seven tons, using seats to hold cargo, in addition to the lower baggage holds. The new FAA directive also allows airlines to cram small freight units into overhead bins and under seats.

But the exemption does require airlines to restrict weights to no more than 50 pounds per seat, and 20 pounds under each seat. In addition, extra fire extinguishers are required, and at least two crew members must be in attendance as fire lookouts.

Currently, the FAA restricts U.S. airlines to hauling cargo only on seats, but airlines are now requesting to be able to remove seats in order to haul more freight. A few airlines outside of U.S. jurisdiction such as Icelandair, Lufthansa, Air Canada and Virgin Atlantic are already hauling freight with their passenger seats removed.

Airlines are also requesting that the FAA extend the exemption for another two years. They await the FAA's decision on that request, and the request for removing passenger seats.

It remains to be seen if increased capacity from this new airline exemption, with its speedier delivery times across country, will impact the truck freight industry; which is still struggling to recover from the COVID-19-related downturn.

Sources: Fleet Owner, Truck Parts and Service, Inbound Logistics, FreightWaves, American Shipper

Tagged Under:

Adverse Conditions Schneider National The Economy And Politics Trucking Industry Concerns

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