SHIP IT Act Could Have Huge Impact on Commercial Trucking

Industry News,

Originally Published by: The Trucker — January 26, 2023
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A new proposal in Congress is designed as a “sweeping overhaul of the interstate trucking supply chain,” according to its sponsors.

South Dakota Republican Dusty Johnson and California Democrat Jim Costa introduced the Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act on Jan. 24.

Legislation has been introduced in Congress that is being heralded as a "sweeping overhaul of the interstate trucking supply chain."

In a news release, Johnson said that the act “increases safety and shipping capacity for truckers, provides recruitment and retention incentives for drivers and includes flexibility during times of emergencies or black swan events.”

Johnson added: “Americans experienced a slew of freight disruptions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year we addressed ocean shipping reform, and it’s clear that updates are needed for other parts of the supply chain. The SHIP IT Act will bridge gaps, keep costs down for consumers, and make it easier for shippers to move products across the U.S.”

Costa pointed to disruptions in the trucking supply chain, saying that they continue to drive up costs and create uncertainty for American consumers and producers.

“We need to recruit, train, and retain truck drivers to keep our supply chain moving, while also updating best practices to improve trucking to fit our modern economy,” Costa said. “That is why we introduced this bipartisan legislation to strengthen the workforce and make it easier to move products across the country.”

Sean Joyce, executive director of the Shippers Coalition, said his organization is fully behind the proposal, calling it “vital to strengthening our supply chain by increasing shipping capacity, lessening burdens on truck drivers, modernizing the CDL process and allowing additional flexibilities during times of emergency. The 80-plus members of the Shippers Coalition appreciate Congressman Johnson’s steadfast leadership on these issues and look forward to working with him to help this critical legislation become law.”

Trucking manufacturers are also lauding the SHIP IT Act.

Matt Joy, president and CEO of heavy-duty truck parts manufacturer Hendricks, said that making things easier on the trucking industry is vital to the nation’s economy.

“Anytime we can make the recruitment of qualified truck drivers easier and with greater retention, that is a positive step for the supply chain,” Joy said. “Additionally, addressing the efficiency of moving goods on our roadways aligns well with America’s need to become more environmentally conscience, while keeping safety at the forefront. We are grateful to have Congressmen, like Representative Johnson, lead these significant and important issues.”

At the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) CEO Michael Dykes called the SHIP IT Act “commonsense trucking reform.”

It “will help dairy companies overcome many of the current supply chain challenges facing our industry,” he said. “The legislation would bring the U.S. supply chain into the 21st century to meet the needs of shippers, reduce regulatory burdens that cost shippers millions of dollars a year, create good paying jobs, and support the ambitious sustainability goals of dairy businesses. IDFA is grateful to Reps. Dusty Johnson and Jim Costa for their leadership on this issue, and we urge swift passage of the SHIP IT Act in both chambers of Congress.”

Tom Madrecki, vice president of Supply Chain, Consumer Brands Association, said the legislation will lead to fewer empty miles driven and a more robust, well-trained workforce. And, most of all, a stronger national supply chain.

“The SHIP IT Act offers tangible solutions that stand to immediately address pressing supply chain challenges,” Madrecki said. “We call on Congress to pass this bipartisan legislation and take meaningful steps to lower consumer costs, enhance efficiency and support safety.”


The Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act:

  • Modernizes the authority for certain vehicle waivers during emergencies, allowing waivers in response to disease and supply chain emergencies.
  • Allows truck drivers to apply for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grants.
  • Incentivizes new truck drivers to enter the workforce through targeted and temporary tax credits.
  • Streamlines the CDL process, making it easier for states and third parties to administer CDL tests.
  • Expands access to truck parking and rest facilities for commercial drivers.