MEMPHIS, Tenn. — 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.”
Writing in DC VELOCITY, a magazine targeting logistics and supply chain managers and executives, Clifford F. Lynch of C.F. Lynch & Associates, says that the debate on twin 33s two years ago “was hardly the first go-round on the issue.” Lynch says the current political landscape and the newest findings showing that twin 33s would result in 3.1 billion fewer vehicle miles traveled and 4,500 fewer accidents, are proving to be particularly advantageous to advancing legislation and allowing twin 33s nationwide to "finally see the light of day.”
Supporters of twin 33s lobbied for the longer trailers during adoption of the FY2016 omnibus appropriations bill and had convinced lawmakers to include pro-twin 33 legislation in both the House and Senate versions of the bill.
But Congress eventually approved the omnibus appropriations bill with those provisions having been stripped out.
“But it appears the T-33’s day has finally come,” Lynch wrote. “What's different this time around? To begin with, we have a new administration and a new Congress, both with a decidedly anti-regulatory bias. More importantly, perhaps, there's new lobbying muscle in town, with FedEx chairman Fred Smith leading the charge.”
Lynch’s assessment runs somewhat contrary to comments by senators during a hearing conducted by the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security during which several senators expressed strong opposition to longer trailers.
Twin 33s are vehemently opposed by the Truckload Carriers Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The American Trucking Associations is neutral on the subject.
Referring to a recent study conducted by the trucking safety expert Ronald Knipling on Twin 33s, Lynch said in his article that past concerns about longer trailers, especially those raised by TCA, no longer have ground.
He affirms the report “addresses specifically — and I think, convincingly — each of the concerns of the TCA.
“TCA — whose members use 53-foot trailers, not twins — has long opposed raising the length limit, citing competitive disadvantage, safety concerns, issues with trailer-on-flatcar equipment designed for 53- and 28-foot containers, and other concerns. Frankly, these and their other arguments seem weak.”
Lynch emphasized that “rather than increasing safety risks, the use of higher-capacity trailers would actually improve safety while at the same time providing a number of environmental and economic benefits.”
Lynch concludes in his article that “if one takes this report at face value — and so far, there seems to be no reason not to — it would be difficult for legislators to ignore the potential benefits of using Twin-33s.
“No doubt, there will be lengthy partisan debates. But at this point, I think the prospects of passage look good.”