A new report from FTR Transportation Intelligence said allowing twin 33-foot trailers on the nation’s highways could lower costs as much as 10%, while having minimal disruption on the operations of the overall trucking industry.
The principal of a company that provides logistics management advisory services predicts that a proposal to allow widespread adoption of twin 33-foot trailers on the nation’s highways “will be one of the few things approved during this session of Congress.”
Since last updating the efficiency of our highway network more than 25 years ago, our infrastructure has suffered from chronic underinvestment and a lack of innovation. At times this lack of investment has put families in harm’s way, caused economic inefficiency, and put undue stress on the environment. We are at a tipping point and our policymakers must realize infrastructure investment cannot solely focus on filling potholes, painting lines, installing signage, and building additional lane miles.
“No doubt, there will be lengthy partisan debates. But at this point, I think the prospects of passage look good. Based on the changing political climate in Washington and the AMT’s lobbying power, my prediction is that the proposal will be one of the few things approved during this session of Congress.”
Over the last century, the logistics industry has seen its share of progress. While the technology in today’s warehouses might seem like science-fiction to some, there was a time when automation and forklifts were not a reality. During these early days, warehouse employees had to carry goods in hundred pound sacks from the rail yard and assemble the pallets by hand.
Straying very little from his campaign trail promises, and just three months into his administration, President Trump has continued to pound the pavement emphasizing the need to overhaul America’s crumbling bridges and roads.
“On-demand” – two words driving consumer behavior and supply chain efficiency in today’s economy. American families have grown accustomed to receiving their purchases via two-day, next-day, and even same-day delivery. Likewise, businesses are working hard to meet consumer demands. No longer can businesses manufacture products for inventory, planning on long time horizons. The rise of e-commerce and on-demand delivery is good news for American families as it means less time running errands and more time at home.
President Trump has rightly pushed for infrastructure investment. However, when viewed through the lens of not just repairing our roads and bridges, but national security, we need more than infrastructure—we need a modern transportation system with new vehicle designs and technologies as well as fuel diversity if we are going to truly secure America.
Because trailers often fill up before hitting the 80,000-pound limit, according to the study, by switching from twin 28-foot trailers to twin 33s, cargo volume could increase by 18.6% while still not needing to increase the maximum weight limit. This means that using twin 33s would require 15.7% fewer trucks and trailers to carry the same amount of cargo.
A new analysis by traffic safety researcher Ronald Knipling has concluded that widespread adoption of twin 33-foot trailers would boost safety and efficiency for U.S. drivers, consumers and businesses.
“‘Allowing widespread use of Twin 33 trailers is common sense policy. Not only are they more stable at highway speeds, the efficiency gains mean we have fewer trucks on the road,’ said Dr. Knipling.”
In 2017, we hope Congress can pair infrastructure investment with regulatory reforms that will enable the industry to continue serving Americans across the country. The lack of consistent and adequate investment in the nation’s infrastructure has created a system that can’t keep up with demand. However, the gap can’t be closed by just repaving roads, and it’s critical that Congress identifies technology and policy changes that can further unlock efficiency.
Allowing the freight industry to rely on twin 33-foot trailers nationwide would enhance productivity, safety and environmental efficiency, FedEx Corp.’s chief executive told a House transportation panel Feb. 1.