JOC | Trump-Fueled Regulatory Rollback Could Ease Truck Capacity Pinch

11.16.16 | William B. Cassidy, JOC

The Trump administration’s plan for a broad-based regulatory rollback could shorten the duration of any future truck capacity shortfall.

Transport research firm FTR expects a truck capacity shortage by mid-2017, but “the duration of this shortage may be shortened significantly by what happened last night,” Larry Gross, FTR partner and senior analyst, said the morning after the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. 

It’s not that Trump has plans to put more trucks on the road, though his infrastructure plans eventually could help do that. But scrapping some regulations or just restraining the expansion of rulemaking in the trucking arena could ease capacity constraints, Gross and other speakers said at the 2016 JOC Inland Distribution Conference in Memphis, Tennessee.

“We are overwhelmed with regulations from a myriad of sources that keep on getting stronger,” Charles W. “Chuck” Clowdis Jr., managing director of transportation for IHS Economics and Country Risk, said at the Nov. 8 to 10 conference. “There are unintended consequences to all these regulations that we have to deal with, and higher costs.”

One of the rulemakings often mentioned as a potential target for the Trump administration is the proposed truck speed limiter mandate, which Gross and others said would limit available truck capacity by slowing trucks and lengthening the time drivers need to complete trips.

Transport industry advocates and lobbyists want to see the Trump administration not just scrap a few regulations, but adopt a very different regulatory philosophy. It’s not clear what regulations might be on the chopping block, but a new approach to rulemaking is a certainty.

“Probably some elements of the regulatory tsunami are going to get ditched,” Gross said, singling out the proposed truck speed limiter mandate, introduced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in August.

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