Americans for Modern Transportation, a new coalition of shippers and retailers led by FedEx Corp. and Amazon.com intends to press congressional lawmakers this year to approve nationwide access of twin 33-foot trailers.
“We need to lay the groundwork for a modern transportation system,” the coalition wrote Jan. 11. “Central to this goal is combining infrastructure enhancements with efficient trucking and policies as well as incentives for better safety and fuel technology.”
While the group argued the longer combination trailers would be safer and gain greater fuel efficiency, opponents balk at sharing roadways with the longer combinations.
Aside for advocating for the industry’s use of the twin 33-foot trailers, the group indicated it will tell lawmakers to increase investments for highway funding, and establish new road technologies.
Other coalition members include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Securing America’s Future Energy, the National Industrial Transportation League, American Highway Users Alliance, International Warehouse Logistics Association, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency and the National Association of Manufacturers. A spokeswoman for the group said the coalition does not have a singular leader.
American Trucking Associations is not part of the coalition. In a statement provided to Transport Topics, ATA president Chris Spear said, "ATA's standing policy supports productivity gains in the areas of both weight and length. The ATA, however, defers all advocacy efforts pertaining to weight and length to industry proponents and their respective coalition groups, including the newly formed Americans for Modern Transportation."
In 2015, Congress sought to adopt a proposal that would have approved twin 33s industrywide. Pushback from key senators ultimately led to the removal of the proposal in a fiscal 2016 spending bill.
In May, Fred Smith, founder and chairman of FedEx, said he was optimistic nationwide use of 33-foot twin trailers would be able to gain approval during the next presidential administration. The trailers are banned absent exemptions. FedEx ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.