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Exec: Trucking prepared for Panama expansion; challenges from crumbling roads

Trucking’s challenges in handling the expected increase in freight are more likely from crumbling roads, legislators were told.

The Trucker News Services

4/11/2013

ARLINGTON, Va. In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Phil Byrd, president and CEO of Bulldog Hiway Express, said trucking is prepared for the projected increases in freight to come from the expansion of the Panama Canal, but warned the country still faces challenges related to congestion and the condition of the infrastructure.

“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 on behalf of the American Trucking Associations.

Rather, 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,” said Byrd, ATA’s first vice chairman.

Byrd also cited inefficiencies getting in and out of port complexes, sporadic labor 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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