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UPS asks for exemptions from two parts of new driver training rule

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UPS said that if it must comply with the instructor qualification requirements in the ELDT rule, it would not be able to use 25% of its current certified driver instructors, at minimum. Looking ahead two more years, that number would likely increase to 50% because of its changing workforce. (Courtesy: UPS)

WASHINGTON — United Parcel Service has applied with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for an exemption from two provisions of the entry-level driver training (ELDT) final rule published in December 2018 — (1) the requirement that a driver training instructor have two years’ experience and have held a CDL for two years as set forth in the definitions of behind-the-wheel (BTW) instructor and theory instructor and (2) the requirement to register each training location for a unique Training Provider Registry (TPR) number.

The implementation date of the final rule in February 7, 2020.

UPS told the FMCSA that it has a driver training school (DTS) that trains its employees to become driver instructors, describing the DTS as a success because it has trained hundreds of driver instructors, many of whom did not have previous CDL experience.

UPS said its DTS instructors have on average 20 years of UPS experience, hold a CDL of the same (or higher) class and with all endorsements necessary to operate a CMV for which training is provided, have completed the DTS program, have maintained their DTS certification through quarterly additional training, and are employed by UPS as supervisors or managers.

UPS said the DTS conducts an eight-week program designed to train supervisors and managers in UPS’ long-haul operations to deliver driver training to drivers at their “home” worksites with the curriculum covering all the topics set forth in the new ELDT rule.

The UPS instructor trainees are assessed in progress reviews at days five, 10 and 15, and a current DTS instructor monitors the quality of the training and trainee progress.

According to UPS, the DTS program produces highly qualified driver instructors. Additionally, all UPS driver instructors are required to be recertified every 90 days to demonstrate the same skill level shown for their original DTS certification. UPS further performs internal quality assessments to validate that instructor skillsets are maintained throughout the organization.

In its request for exemption, UPS states that if it must comply with the instructor qualification requirements in the ELDT rule, it would not be able to use 25% of its current certified driver instructors, at minimum. Looking ahead two more years, that number would likely increase to 50% because of its changing workforce. UPS sees an increase in growth through volume demand, as well as an aging workforce that will lead to retiring CDL drivers and certified driver instructors. Without an exemption from the [ELDT] trainer requirements, UPS’s inability to use its current driver instructors will impede substantially its ability to meet the demand for new drivers, the request said.

UPS said that the exemption is needed to meet union contractual requirements, as under its collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Teamsters), six current UPS employees must be provided with a promotion opportunity for every new hire.

As for the requirement to register each training location for a unique TPR number, UPS said training for new drivers takes place in many locations.

In each location, instructors who have been trained in the same way pursuant to UPS’ DTS program will use a common FMCSR-compliant curriculum developed at a corporate level.

UPS is operating a single training program in multiple locations. UPS said that it needs this exemption because of  the significant administrative burden that would result if it had to register every UPS location at which a new driver could be trained. In addition, having separate TPR numbers for multiple locations offering essentially the same training could create internal confusion for UPS, drivers, and the agency. UPS new driver training may occur at as many as 1,800 separate locations a year. UPS estimates that the cost to register all of these locations would be substantial, and that it would incur additional costs to keep track of the various registrations, file updates, and new driver registrations.

UPS offered its “train the trainer” program within its DTS to assure an equivalent level of safety. According to UPS, its DTS produces highly skilled instructors who know how to drive tractor-trailers and how to teach others to operate tractor-trailers in a safe manner. UPS believes that graduates of its DTS training program are better prepared to impart knowledge and skills on new drivers than someone who has had two years of driving experience.

The FMCSA is requesting comments on UPS’ request.

To submit comment online, go to www.regulations.gov and put the docket number, “FMCSA-2019-0139” in the “Keyword” box, and click “Search.” When the new screen appears, click on “Comment Now!” button and type your comment into the text box in the following screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party and then submit.

Deadline to submit comments is July 19.

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FTR Trucking Conditions Index for July improved to reading above neutral

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FTR said although some positive trucking conditions index readings are possible over the next year, the outlook is for primarily negative to neutral readings throughout the time frame. (The Trucker file photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for July improved slightly to a just above neutral reading of 0.28.  Lower diesel prices offset the effects of lower capacity utilization pushing the reading into positive territory for the first time since January. Although some positive readings are possible over the next year, the outlook is for primarily negative to neutral readings throughout the time frame.

Details of the TCI for July are found in the September t issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published August 30. The “Notes by the Dashboard Light” section issues readers a warning about the possibility for slower growth ahead.

Along with the TCI and “Notes by the Dashboard Light,” the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.

“Although it has become common to hear dire warnings about the state of the trucking industry, the truck freight market as a whole is hardly collapsing,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking. “Rapid cooling from last year’s extraordinarily strong market certainly has left many weak carriers exposed, but freight volume and rates are holding up reasonably well – certainly if viewed in a longer-term context. Still, most of the near-term risks to our outlook are on the downside.”

The TCI tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the U.S. truck market, including freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price and financing.

The individual metrics are combined into a single index indicating the industry’s overall health. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings (up or down) suggest significant operating changes are likely.

In addition to the monthly updates on trucking conditions, FTR offers a weekly Trucking Market Update in the State of Freight Podcast.

The weekly update, hosted by Avery Vise, covers spot market and economic indicators and major industry developments. To listen to recent episodes and download the indicators that are covered, go to www.FTRintel.com/podcast.

To learn more about FTR visit www.FTRintel.com or call 888-988-1699 or email  or email FTR@FTRintel.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Average on-highway gallon of diesel up 1.6 cents, but crude oil up 12.97%

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The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel for the week ending September 16 was 28.1 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The average on-highway price of a gallon of diesel rose 1.6 cents a gallon to $2.987 for the week ending September 16, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

It was the first weekly increase since the week ending July 8 when the price went up 1.3 cents a gallon to $3.055.

What, if any, impact did the attack on the Saudi oil facility have on the price this week is hard to determine since the attack occurred only early last Saturday.

“Our team is keeping a close eye on the impact of the Saudi oil fire on the diesel market,” said a spokesperson for Pilot Flying J. “We have already seen the market react, but it’s too early to predict the extent of the impact. Our No. 1 priority remains getting our guests from point A to point B as quickly and conveniently as possible.”

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude rose 12.97% to $61.93 Monday.

All regions of the country increased with the exception of the Central Atlantic States (New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey) where the price dropped nine tenths of a penny to $3.013.

The largest increase was in the West Coast minus California at 3 cents top $3.161. The next largest increase was 2.6 cents in the overall West Coast region (California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) and the Rocky Mountain states (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

The price for the week ending September 16 was 28.1 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018.

For a complete list of prices by region for the past three weeks, click here.

 

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DOT’s freight transportation index rises to new all-time high in July

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The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 0.9% in July from June, rising to a new all-time high after declining for two consecutive months, the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) said Thursday.

From July 2018 to July 2019, the index rose 2.9% compared to a rise of 6.0% from July 2017 to July 2018.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. The TSI is seasonally-adjusted to remove regular seasons from month-to-month comparisons.

The BTS said the Uly increase was broad based with increases in rail carloads, rail intermodal, trucking, pipeline and air freight. There was a small decline in water transportation.

The TSI increase took place against a background of mixed results for other indicators.

The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production Index declined in July, reflecting decreases in mining and manufacturing and an increase in utilities. Personal income increased by 0.1%, while housing starts declined by 4.0%. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing index decreased 0.5 points to 51.2, indicating continued but slowing growth.

The BTS said despite small decreases in both May (-0.1%) and June (-0.3%), the July index was 0.6% over its April level and 0.2% over its previous record high in November 2018.

The record high level was reached even though the index increased in only four of the eight months since November. From a low point in March 2016, the index climbed 12.8% until reaching a new high in May 2018. From that point, the index has exceeded its levels in all months prior to May 2018. The July 2019 index was 46.6% above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

For-hire freight shipments in July 2019 (139.0) were 46.6% higher than the low in April 2009 during the recession (94.8). The July 2019 level reached its all-time high.

For-hire freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.1% in July compared to the end of 2018.

For-hire freight shipments are up 15.4% in the five years from July 2014 and are up 41.4% in the 10 years from July 2009.

 

 

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