Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bulking Up On the Road

Proposed Federal legislation could allow weight of truckload shipments to increase 38%.

Under proposed legislation working its way through Congress, over-the-road shipments may be putting on some weight.

The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act introduced in the Senate this month, aka SETA or the SAFE Act, mirrors a House bill backed by trucking companies and shippers. Under the law, 40,000 lb. shipments would be allowed to increase 38 percent to 55,000 lbs., with overall truckload weight limits climbing from 80,000 to 97,000lbs. Additional axles and brakes would be required on trailers to handle the heavier loads safely.

The new regulations, should they become law, will have their greatest effect on shipments of high-density materials. Cargoes with a palletized density of less than 12 lbs. per cubic foot will cube out, so the measure bears more directly on shippers of nuts and bolts than ping pong balls.

Commodity and high-density shippers in particular will need to re-assess their supply chains in light of the new rules, but this will impact logistics for all shippers. Possibilities include larger, less frequent shipments, new shipping patterns using truckload for long-haul to break-bulk facilities, and increased warehouse space required to accommodate larger volume shipments.

As always, those who plan ahead will reap the greatest rewards.

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