DOT wants feedback on supply chain challenges

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Updated Sep 23, 2021

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021:

DOT seeks feedback on supply chain disruptions

The Department of Transportation is requesting information from trucking and other transportation industries to assist DOT in preparing a report for President Biden on supply chain disruptions. Specifically, DOT is soliciting “practical solutions from a broad range of stakeholders to address current and future challenges to supply chain resilience in the freight and logistics sector.”

DOT is asking the public to answer 13 questions listed in a Federal Register notice. Some topics include:

  • Identifying major infrastructure or operational bottlenecks and chokepoints across the freight and logistics supply chain that slow or impede efficient cargo movement.
  • Major risks to resilience within the freight and logistics sector, including defense, intelligence, cyber, health, climate and more.
  • Effects of climate change on transportation and logistics infrastructure.
  • Technology issues, including information systems, cybersecurity and more.
  • Key opportunities and challenges with respect to the existing and future workforce.

DOT is accepting comments in the Federal Register through Oct. 18.

Embark, ZF partner in autonomous truck tech development

Autonomous truck tech developer Embark Trucks and parts manufacturer ZF announced a collaboration to test, validate and integrate ZF’s ReAX adaptive steering technology to ensure compatibility with the Embark Universal Interface (EUI).

This collaboration will enable the validation of the ReAX steering system and core algorithm, ultimately leading to a safer and more performant autonomous technology stack. Both companies work with an OEM-agnostic approach with the trucking industry, cooperating with both OEM and fleet customers and providing them with the technology to safely operate.

Embark has tested ZF technology for four years. ZF will provide access to the prototype ReAX steering solution and engineering support to Embark, including installation and operation of the system. In turn, Embark will integrate and test ReAX with the EUI, and will relay data and results to ZF in order to promote continued development and improvement of a self-driving system that is compatible across OEM platforms.

With the EUI, Embark enables carriers to begin trials and deployment of Embark self-driving software on trucks from the carriers’ preferred OEM. The EUI is a set of standardized self-driving modules and interfaces necessary to more easily integrate Embark's autonomous technology onto truck OEM vehicle platforms.

The EUI is currently in development for trucks from the four major OEMs in the U.S. – Freightliner, Navistar International, Paccar, and Volvo – representing the vast majority of the Class 8 trucks on the road nationwide.

FedEx set to increase shipping rates in 2022

FedEx Freight and other subsidiaries of FedEx Corp. (CCJ Top 250, No. 1) will increase shipping rates on Jan. 3, 2022.

FedEx Freight shipping rates will increase by an average of 5.9% for customers who use FXF PZONE and FXF EZONE, and 7.9% for customers who use FXF 1000 and 501. This change applies to shipments within the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and between the contiguous U.S. and Canada. FedEx Freight shipping rates will also increase for shipments within Canada, within Mexico, and between the contiguous U.S. and Mexico.

Additionally, beginning Nov. 1, 2021, a fuel surcharge increase will be applied to FedEx Freight, FedEx Express and FedEx Ground shipments. Effective Jan. 17, 2022, FedEx Freight will introduce a No Shipment Tendered surcharge that applies when a pickup is performed and no shipment is tendered to the carrier.

These changes reflect incremental costs associated with the challenging operating environment, FedEx says, while enabling FedEx to continue investing in service enhancement, fleet maintenance, technology innovations, and other areas to serve customers more effectively and efficiently.

FedEx Express and FedEx Ground rates are also increasing by an average of 5.9% next year.