Regulations & trade: What’s impacting supply chains?

Whether you are a shipper, receiver, or carrier, it’s good to be in the know about what is affecting the supply chain world. Check out some topics from August that are impacting the transportation industry.

Trump administration considers changes to hours of service rules:

The Trump administration is considering changes to the hours of service regulations due to complaints from the industry, tying new electronic logging device (ELD) regulations for truckers to increased cost and shipping delays. On Aug. 21, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment for considered changes on four specific aspects of HOS rules:
  • The short-haul hours of service limit;
  • The hours of service exception for adverse driving conditions;
  • The 30-minute rest break provision; and
  • The split-sleeper berth rule to allow drivers to split their required time in the sleeper berth.
Additionally, the FMCSA seeks public comment on petitions for rulemaking from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and

FMSCA to begin test of new CSA scoring system in September:

FMCSA said it will begin testing a new scoring system beginning in September for its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. The agency has filed a report with Congress outlining changes to the Safety Measurement System (SMS). Over the past three years, the National Academies of Science studied ways to make the SMS rankings more accurate in the assessment of fleets’ risk of future crashes. Looking ahead to next year, the agency said it hopes to run a larger test in April and have further evaluated the full program by June. FMCSA said it expects the new system will allow carriers to more easily understand and calculate their safety scores. In addition, it will work with states and carriers to better calculate data on vehicle miles traveled and crashes. It is all part of the bigger goal to add a larger scoring system, rather than comparing similar carriers with peers as the CSA program previously had done.

U.S. Farm exports hit lowest point since 2011:

Prices for U.S. farm exports dropped in July by the most in more than six years as a trade war with China heated up. Agricultural export prices fell 5.3 percent from the prior month, the biggest drop since October 2011, as soybean prices plummeted 14.1 percent. Export prices for corn, wheat, fruits and nuts also slumped in July. The overall export price index dropped 0.5 percent, the most since May 2017, the department said. The figures exclude the price effect from any tariffs. China in July slapped 25 percent tariffs on American soybeans and targeted other farm goods in retaliation for U.S. duties on a range of merchandise. The world’s biggest buyer of soybeans has shunned U.S. supplies amid the escalating trade conflict, threatening to curb exports after the harvest.

U.S. trade deficit widens by $46.3 billion in June

The United States’ trade deficit widened in June for the first time in four months as exports fell and imports grew. The Commerce Department said Aug. 3 that the deficit in goods and services — the gap between what the U.S. sells and what it buys from other countries — rose 7.3 percent to $46.3 billion in June from $43.2 billion in May. U.S. exports slid 0.7 percent to$213.8 billion; imports rose 0.6 percent to $260.2 billion, led by increases in medicine and crude oil. The U.S. ran goods deficits in June of $33.5 billion with China, up 0.9 percent from May; $7.4 billion with Mexico, up 10.5 percent; and $2 billion with Canada, up 39.7 percent. In the first half of the year, the U.S. registered a trade deficit in goods and services of $291.2 billion, up 7.2 percent from January-June 2017. In June, the United States posted a surplus of $22.5 billion in the trade of services such as banking and education. But that was offset by a $68.8 billion deficit in the trade of goods.