Over 100 Trucking-Dependent Groups Want to Retain NAFTA Trucking

Yellow trucks in warehouseThe American Farm Bureau, the North American Shippers Association, The Toy Association, and the Retail Industry Leaders Association urged the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to keep a trucking provision that allows Mexican trucks to operate more easily in the country.

The groups belong to a coalition of more than 100 trade organizations in the agriculture, retail, and transportation industries. They seek a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal that retains policies for trucking activity.

NAFTA Trucking

The Trade Representative proposed the removal of a NAFTA provision that lets Mexican truckers travel to the U.S. and vice versa. The elimination would make it more difficult for the former to do business in the country.

By doing so, freight shipments across both countries will suffer, according to the coalition. While it said that the rule does not hurt the competition, the Teamsters Union believes that the proposal would benefit highway safety and independent long-haul drivers, said Mike Dolan, Teamsters Union legislative representative. The union serves as the voice for many U.S. truck drivers, which could become fewer by the end of 2017.

Driver Shortage

Bob Costello, chief economist of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), said that they expect a shortage of 50,000 truckers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) by the end of this year. A continual occurrence of this trend will lead to a lack of more than 174,000 drivers by 2026.

Companies who struggle to fill vacancies should turn to a CDL driver staffing company or other recruiters, especially since any shortfall will be detrimental to the U.S. economy and supply chain, according to Costello.

The U.S. should find a common ground on how to retain the NAFTA trucking provisions without compromising competition and highway safety. This will be important amid the current problem of finding qualified drivers.