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Trucking prepared for Panama Canal expansion, but challenges exist: ATA

ARLINGTON, Va. -- American Trucking Associations vice-chairman Phil Byrd says trucking is prepared for the projected increases in freight to come from the expansion of the Panama Canal, but warned the US still faced challenges related to...


ARLINGTON, Va. American Trucking Associations vice-chairman Phil Byrd says trucking is prepared for the projected increases in freight to come from the expansion of the Panama Canal, but warned the US still faced challenges related to congestion and the condition of its infrastructure. Byrd made the comments yesterday in testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

“We are aware of no systemic trucking capacity shortages that are currently impacting freight movement at our port facilities or could serve to restrict the transport of Panama Canal increased volumes beginning in 2015,” Byrd said.

Rather, Byrd said trucking’s challenges in handling the expected increase in freight are more likely “outside the gate … specifically the impact our crumbling infrastructure will have on handling increased traffic and freight demands.”

Byrd also cited inefficiencies getting in and out of port complexes, sporadic labour issues and constraints on driver resources – specifically the soon-to-be imposed Hours-of-Service rules and the looming driver shortage – as issues that weigh on trucking’s ability to handle an increased workload.

“Given the proven, adaptive and flexible nature of the trucking industry, however, we believe we will be able to handle these container freight increases wherever they actually occur in America’s port system,” Byrd said.


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