Monthly Edition - October 2020
Sustainable Supply Chains Grow More Important
Transport Topics

A growing number of corporations have sustainability goals, according to a new study by Coyote Logistics, and are looking for the supply chain to amplify those efforts.

“Sustainable Supply Chain Management: Driving a Smarter, More Sustainable Future” found 81% of companies are more focused on sustainability today compared with three years ago, and to be successful their supply chains must play an integral role in owning sustainable initiatives across their networks.

It was conducted in partnership with market research firm Martec.

Trucker Pay Increasing as Driver Shortage Grows, Industry Capacity Tightens
Transport Topics

As capacity tightens in the trucking industry, some carriers are beginning to announce pay hikes. While the frequency of these increases are not yet nearing the rapid pace of hikes the industry saw during the busy year of 2018, some industry watchers said they would not be surprised to see more jumps.

“I’ve seen a number of companies over the last couple of weeks make statements that they are raising their driver pay,” said Jeremy Reymer, CEO of Indianapolis-based driver recruiting firm DriverReach, in an interview with Transport Topics. “I think we’ve lost a ton of drivers this year, because of COVID.”

Green Bay, Wis.-based Schneider National in an Oct. 6 statement provided to TT that it is raising pay for its team drivers. Those with one year or more of experience will receive 4 cents per mile more, while inexperienced team drivers, zero to one year, will receive an additional 2 cents per mile in pay.

As recovery looms, trucking faces driver supply dilemma
Fleet Owner

Fleet recruiting experts discuss the challenges of finding drivers as the economy improves and how to solve them.

Many signs in the trucking industry are pointing to strong demand for freight as 2020 ends and 2021 begins, though individual fleets are grappling with a multitude of factors, making it more difficult to find drivers to move that freight. The for-hire segment’s driver supply is dwindling due to the retirement of veteran truckers, drivers’ ability to pass drug tests, and competition from other “blue-collar” industries such as manufacturing and construction, as well as local delivery and private fleets.

At the same time, the economy is preparing to awaken from the long slumber it’s been in since COVID-19 hit. FTR Transportation Intelligence projected utilization will accelerate in Q1 of 2021, pushing freight rates higher than the 10-year average by the next summer. That would be on par with 2018 numbers.

Trucking Must Prepare for Climate Initiatives
MMTA Commentary

When it comes to MMTA being involved with matters of public policy on behalf of the trucking industry, climate initiatives have taken center stage. And quite a bit of our time lately. Whether it is the efforts of the Maine Climate Council, Governor Mills signing on to the Multi-State Medium and Heavy Duty Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) MOU, the EPA’s Cleaner Trucks Initiative or the potential impacts of the Transportation Climate Initiative and the Green New Deal – change is coming when it comes to environmental initiatives. And trucking needs to be ready.

As a practical matter, our position has never been to oppose progressive environmental ideas out of hand. We know the role we play in the environment and we also know the role we play when it comes to the economy. Our belief has always been that there has to be a balance, and solutions have to be market-driven and based upon unassailable data.

But the constant barrage is making it hard for us to be seen as partners in the proactive steps needed for a better environmental future. Take as an example, the July Memorandum of Understanding signed by Governor Mills that commits Maine to make sales of all new medium and heavy-duty vehicles zero emission vehicles by 2050. That includes OTR trucks, regardless of the weight of their payload. That includes LTL trucks. It includes trucks hauling over-dimensional loads. It also includes forest products trucks hauling out of the Maine woods. You get the picture.

Study: COVID-19 Changing Commuter Traffic Patterns

A new study released by analytics firm StreetLight Data indicates that U.S. peak commuting travel is experiencing tremendous change – minimizing and changing rush hour traffic patterns, while not necessarily changing overall traffic volumes.

“As 2020 draws to a close, some transportation indicators like vehicle miles traveled (VMT) are trending back to pre-COVID levels,” the firm noted in its new 22-page report. “But … looking closer, we are seeing a shift to an entire ‘new normal’ for transportation.”

StreetLight based its study on an examination of VMT data from five major U.S. metropolitan areas – New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Chicago. It found that instead of the typical sharp increase in morning travel, followed by a drop and then an afternoon peak, VMT data now indicates weekday traffic builds gradually toward a more sustained afternoon high.

That is in part because “millions of commuters no longer head to a distant office in the morning, so they have new flexibility for mid-day grocery shopping and other in-person errands as more businesses gradually reopen their doors,” the firm said.

Spread of electric cars sparks fights for control over charging
Fox Business

Electric vehicles are widely seen as the automobile industry's future, but a battle is unfolding in states across America over who should control the charging stations that could gradually replace fuel pumps.

From Exelon Corp. to Southern California Edison, utilities have sought regulatory approval to invest millions of dollars in upgrading their infrastructure to prepare for charging and, in some cases, to own and operate chargers.

The proposals are sparking concerns from consumer advocates about higher electric rates and oil companies about subsidizing rivals. They are also drawing opposition from startups that say the successors to gas stations should be open to private-sector competition, not controlled by monopoly utilities.

That debate is playing out in regulatory commissions throughout the U.S. as states and utilities promote wider adoption of electric vehicles. At stake are charging infrastructure investments expected to total more than $13 billion over the next five years, according to energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. That would cover roughly 3.2 million charging outlets.

MMTA Drug and Alcohol Testing Program Transition

Over the last year, our drug testing program with Fleet Screen has undergone changes...much of which has gone smoothly. There have been some service issues during late September and early October with delays in fourth quarter selections, and new account set ups. We apologize for these short-term inconveniences and trust that members will find the changes to be beneficial in the long term.

Here is a summary of the transition:

  • Fleet Screen was acquired by DISA Global Solutions in September of 2019.
  • DISA announced in July 2020 management of MRO Services by University Services, a DISA subsidiary.
  • DISA placed administration as C/TPA to subsidiary AWSI in September 2020.
  • All correspondence now reflects AWSI as the C/TPA and fewer if any references to Fleet Screen remain.

The former Fleet Screen employees have, however, remained employees of DISA/AWSI and are still responsible for servicing MMTA member accounts. They are busy transitioning account set ups to AWSI, and working out any bugs with the transition.

Each passing day has resulted in efficiency and most problems are resolved easily. We encourage you to reach out to the normal contacts by email or phone to resolve remaining problems or to assist with transition issues or help with management of your account.

Are You Taking Advantage of MMTA’s Employee Benefit Program?
Acadia Benefits

2020 certainly has been a challenging year, and as the pandemic impacts our country, we are seeing the crucial pillar supporting our local workforce is employer-sponsored benefits. Now, more than ever, employers are looking for cost effective ways to recruit and retain great employees.  One of these strategies is offering benefits to supplement group health insurance, also known as ancillary benefits.

For the past 15 years, MMTA has worked with some of the most respected insurance carriers in Maine to create a robust and diverse Employee Benefits Program for members. The sole purpose of this program is to benefit MMTA members and the more participation we have, the better the rates we can offer.

By leveraging member purchasing power and creating a larger pool to collectively negotiate better prices, MMTA members have seen rate stability for dental, vision, life/AD&D and short-term disability insurance. The average increase in dental rates for MMTA members has been 1.6% in over a 10-year period. (This is an extremely low increase over a such a long period of time.) And we are excited to announce that Delta Dental is offering a rate-hold on all MMTA policies for the next 2 years.

Whether you currently provide benefits and want to compare pricing or if you want to learn more about the general cost of offering benefits to your employees, please reach out to discuss further. There is no cost to the services we provide MMTA members and their employees. It’s easy to join and Acadia Benefits would be happy to provide additional details the options available through the MMTA Employee Benefit Program!

We will keep MMTA members posted as new information comes in. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to email Tim, Randy or Brian if you have questions.