TCA rejects increasing weight limit.
The Truckload Carriers Association has written a letter to Congress stressing its support of the current five-axle, 80,000-pound federal gross vehicle weight limit for trucks.
TCA President John Lyboldt sent the letter to the Senate Committee on Appropriations and the House Committee on Appropriations, and began with “The Truckload Carriers Association is the only national trade association whose sole focus is the truckload segment of the trucking industry, which consists of over 524,000 companies within the U.S., operating millions of power units. Many of our member companies are small family-owned businesses that have spanned generations. TCA and its trucking company members are concerned about allowing freight shipping trucks to carry a maximum of 91,000 pounds with the addition of a 6th axle, up from the current 80,000 pounds standard.”
Although they acknowledge the change is an attempt to improve trucking productivity, they also state the increase “would only benefit a minority of carriers, while forcing the rest of the industry either to divert critical resources into these new configurations or risk becoming obsolete.”
TCA believes truckload carriers can not afford the costs associated with this rule. Their specific concerns include the cost to retrofit trailers, the cost of running the route, and the concern that rates will not increase enough to cover the added costs.
“Carriers are unlikely to see rate increases that fully offset the cost of moving the additional weight, let alone recouping the costs of retrofitting all of their equipment. Certainly no one will pay for the increased cost of fuel associated with a 6th axle, especially if it was not required for the shipment. The cost burden will fall squarely on the carrier, to the benefit of those shippers who own the goods,” said Lyboldt.
Lyboldt summed up TCA’s position with this statement:
Truckload’s shift from 48’ trailers to 53’ trailers was exactly this issue, only in reverse. Shippers who filled trailers by volume before maximizing the allowable weight put pressure on industry to move to 53’ trailers. Like the proposal today, there were pilot programs prior to it being legalized across the nation. Only half of the loads cubed out before they weighed out, yet the entire industry was forced to move. Today, half of the freight on our nation’s highways would fit into a 48’ trailer, yet there are virtually no 48’ trailers in use nationally. Why?
The market demands ultimate flexibility from general freight haulers. Those who cannot provide the service simply disappear. As has happened before, maximum capacities become the norm. Carriers are forced to adjust their equipment to accommodate 91,000/6, despite the fact that they will likely never recoup the costs of the adjustment or haul loads requiring the 6th axle. The truckload industry simply cannot afford the adoption of a policy which would support allowing 91,000 pounds on 6 axles.”