Logistics is a complicated industry involving a wide range of people, companies, and arrangements. To oversee these operations, several federal agencies are responsible for regulating different aspects of transportation. Your company’s success is at the mercy of governmental agencies and their regulations.

Federal Regulations Affecting The Logistics Industry

Some of the federal agencies that oversee different aspects of logistics include:

  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • The US Department of Commerce
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • The Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
  • The National Transportation Highway & Safety Administration (NTHSA)
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator (FMCSA)

Depending on the product and the country of origin, other agencies may be involved as well.

In the last few years, the number of new regulations puts increasing pressure on logistics, including the trucking industry. These are a few of the more notable developments.

Electronic Logging Devices (ELD, FMCSA)

As of December 17, 2019, all trucks in the US are required to have a device installed that records a driver’s time on the road as well as his or her time off. ELD replaces hand-written paper logs, which have been the standard for drivers to keep track of their time, significantly reducing human error. The device records Hours of Service (HOS), GPS locations, engine hours, and other data quickly and easily. ELDs are required for all commercially licensed trucks over 10,000 pounds.

The ELD mandate was created in response to truck accidents and pressure from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the American Trucking Association to Congress and the FMCSA to control the number of hours a driver could be on the road in 24 hours to reduce crashes.

The ELD is controversial among drivers, who are split between the improvements and the limitations on their hours, miles, and the impact on their paychecks.

The FMSCA’s Drug/Alcohol Testing Clearinghouse

Until recently, a driver terminated for a failed drug test could simply go to another company and get rehired as soon as he or she became “clean” enough to pass a new drug test. Only the company itself would have access to the results, and the next company hiring the driver wouldn’t know that he or she failed a check from the previous employer.

The FMSCA’s database not only allows companies to see a driver’s failed testing, but also traffic citations for those found to be operating under the influence. Regulations require carriers to check the databases yearly for all of their drivers.

The current testing is based on urine samples, but hair sampling may become the norm. As more drivers fail these tests, the pool of qualified drivers may shrink even further.

The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2011, the FSMA was created in response to multiple reports of foodborne illnesses ten years earlier. The food industry has spent millions in response to recalls, lost millions in sales, and legal fees as a result.

Under the FSMA, stricter controls were implemented on foods and ingredients and temperature controls for the entire trip from origin to customer. Carriers, shippers and receivers of food products for both humans and animals are required to:

  • Have proper refrigeration for the shipment
  • Completely clean containers, railcars, and trailers in between shipments
  • Segregate food shipments from non-food shipments
  • Keep adequate records
  • Provide training for personnel

The FDA implemented the FSMA to ensure food safety for both human and animal foods, which is a responsibility shared throughout the supply chain.

The EPA/NHTSA’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards

Trucks produced after 2010 are much less polluting than those produced in previous years. Since 2011, the EPA has been working towards reducing greenhouse gases (GHG), primarily methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrofluorocarbons.

For model years 2014 through 2018, these standards saved millions of barrels of oil and set the stage for Phase 2 standards. These new standards will apply to model years 2021 through 2027 for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The plan is intended to increase fuel efficiency even further, and cut carbon pollution to help offset climate change, as well as save two billion barrels over the lifetime of the new vehicles.

Both agencies continue to work towards reducing GHG emissions and improved fuel economy for all vehicles, but especially large commercial vehicles. However, these improvements also have one unfortunate effect: the price of the new, more efficient cars becomes more expensive.

3PL Worldwide For Supply And Logistics

We can help you learn more about how local, state, federal, and international regulations can impact your company’s logistics and supply chain.

Based in Southern California, we’re ready to help with as little or as much of your company’s supply chain. Contact us today at (877) 444-0002 or use our online contact form.


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