Livestock haulers ask FMCSA for relief following cyberattack on meat processor

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Trucking news and briefs for Friday, June 4, 2021:

Cattle group seeks regulatory relief for livestock haulers after JBS cyberattack
A cyberattack on Memorial Day targeting the world’s largest meat processor, JBS, that shut down at least some of the company’s 84 U.S. facilities has prompted the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association to ask the DOT for regulatory relief for livestock and meat haulers.

In a letter penned to U.S. DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, USCA asked that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “provide emergency regulatory flexibility for motor carriers and drivers hauling both live animals and meat products.”

The group said that JBS’ five biggest plants in the U.S. process an average of 22,500 cattle a day, which is nearly a fifth of America’s production. Any delay in JBS’ services, USCA added, “will create a major supply chain disruption, impacting both producers of livestock and consumers of meat at a time when the market is still recovering from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

USCA also cited the hours of service exemption provided to the fuel hauling industry after the recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline as a precedent for issuing a similar emergency declaration for livestock and meat haulers.

According to a report from the Associated Press, JBS has resumed most of its operations on Thursday.

Melton offering largest driver pay increase in company’s history
Melton Truck Lines (CCJ Top 250, No. 84) is increasing pay for all of its drivers, based on experience and tenure.

The increase will start student drivers at 47 cents per mile and give the most experienced drivers 63 cents per mile.

In February, the flatbed carrier increased tarp pay from $50 to $100. Along with this increase, Melton drivers will be presented with various opportunities to earn additional pay, including Melton’s $5,400 fuel bonus, additional 16 cpm pay for over-dimensional loads, extra 6 cpm pay for Canada and hazmat loads, and more.

Food hauler increasing driver pay
Dot Transportation Inc. (DTI), the affiliate trucking company of Dot Foods, is raising pay for all drivers fleetwide. The raise is the second this year for DTI drivers.

The increase, effective this week, is a 6% increase on the company’s mileage rate, which the company says means drivers can take home up to $4,700 extra this year.

DTI’s pay structure is activity-based, and its drivers are paid for every part of their job, including mileage, stops, pickups, deliveries, layovers, detentions, drop and hook, and more. Drivers are also part of the company’s bonus program and are eligible for quarterly and annual bonuses.

Former NHTSA exec joins autonomous firm
Autonomous trucking firm Locomation has hired former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration executive Sean Rushton.

Rushton served as NHTSA’s Communications Director and will lead Locomation’s Corporate Communications.

“We are pleased to have Sean join Locomation to help us convey our unique story,” said company co-founder and CEO Dr. Çetin Meriçli. “This is a critical moment in the company’s journey as we begin deploying our first phase, Autonomous Relay Convoys (ARC), on the development path to fully autonomous trucks.”

Locomation’s proprietary ARC technology, which moves two trucks with one human on-duty driving, is expected to produce an estimated 30% or more reduction in truck operating cost per mile, 8% reduction in fuel expense, increase in freight density of 2x per lane, and remove 42 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air per tractor annually.