OAKLAND, CA, 11 September 2015 (PPI Pulp & Paper Week) -Legislation was unveiled this week that would increase the weight limit for US trucks to 91,000 lbs and require a sixth axle, the American Forest & Paper Association reported.
The author of the Safe, Flexible and Efficient Trucking Act is Rep. Reid Ribble, R-WI.
"The transportation crisis in America is severe," said AF&PA pres/CEO Donna Harman in a release this week.
"Increasing truck weights to the federal bridge compliant weight of 91,000 pounds with the addition of a sixth axle will reduce congestion, decrease emissions and improve global competitiveness of US forest products companies," Harman said. "With the higher weight limit, the space in trucks will be used more efficiently and the number of truck trips for forest products could be reduced by approximately 1.4 million each year. This legislation will reduce miles traveled and improve highway safety."
The trucking sector has been under fire from pulp and paper companies. Company executives including from Domtar and PCA have complained about a lack of truckers, especially on certain routes, as well as higher costs in some cases.
By 2017, US shippers will face trucker shortages, according to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals in its "State of Logistics" report.
The American Transportation Research Institute forecasts a 250,000 decline in truckers in seven years.
New US regulations are also expected to affect capacity such as for electronic log instruments, speed-limiting, and stringent alcohol and drug testing, according to reports.
Economist Noel Perry said trucking capacity utilization has been consistently at about 90%. In 2014, it was 100% and so far in 1995 it has been at 95%, he recently said in a report.