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March 12, 2012 8:00 AM, EDT

Letters: Heavier Vehicles, Fuel Prices

These Letters to the Editor appear in the March 12 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Heavier Vehicles

This is in reference to the article “Shippers Support Trucking Industry’s Campaign to Get Congress’ OK for Longer, Heavier Vehicles” (2-13, p. 1). Can somebody please explain to me what I am missing here about the carrier point of view? Why should carriers support this?

It’s great for corporate behemoths like Nestlé, MillerCoors, Campbell Soup Co. and others in the Coalition for Transportation Productivity to be able to load an additional 17,000 pounds on the truckload most states now limit to 80,000 pounds. Of course, it will be more efficient for the shippers to move more freight on one load, but what is the good news here for the carriers or the motoring public?

Are the carriers going to be charging more for hauling these heavier loads? Not likely. I can guarantee you that shippers will call it a “truckload” and expect the same pricing for 60,000 pounds that they got for 44,000 pounds. And the carriers will be forced to assume all the liability and risk of a vehicle as much as 21% heavier hurtling down our overburdened interstate system.

Trucking companies know it costs more to move a heavier load, but faced with competition, they will crumple and meet the shippers’ demands for the same pricing.

Having witnessed the competitive mind-set and lack of pricing discipline throughout my 35-year career in this industry, I will bet that farm carriers, certainly, will not see any additional financial remuneration. We will be hauling more weight on more expensive equipment for the same price at which we hauled lighter loads on fewer axles.

And didn’t I just read that our industry had achieved the lowest fatality-per-mile rate ever? Let’s see how that number holds up when a distracted driver in a truck carrying 97,000 pounds through rush-hour traffic tries to make a panic stop. In a situation where more weight means more handling/stopping issues — and a bigger bang when, God forbid, the crash does come — those crash/fatality statistics will suffer.

Stephen Cospito

Owner

L&S Logistic Services Inc.

Orlando, Fla.

Fuel Prices

High fuel prices are bad for the national economy, businesses and individuals, but we know this is politics and not supply and demand. The solutions will not come from government — especially from the current administration.

It is in the interest of individuals and the transportation industry to solve the problem. And how do we do that? The answer is for trucking companies and bus companies to invest in the infrastructure needed to bring liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas to the marketplace.

Providing filling stations for LNG and CNG would allow individuals and companies to make the switch for their vehicles. We do not need everyone to change to LNG and CNG to see the effects, which will be for transportation fuel costs to fall off the cliff.

Terry Ashcraft

Yuma, Ariz.