Homeland Security appropriations bill would create anti-fraud/cargo theft task force

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Trucking news and briefs for Friday, June 14, 2024:

Homeland Security appropriations bill includes funding for anti-fraud/cargo theft task force

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that includes funding for a task force that would address supply chain fraud and cargo theft.

A report on the details of the bill notes that the Appropriations Committee “remains concerned with the alarming rise in supply chain fraud and theft through interstate commerce, particularly in the rail, motor carrier, and intermodal systems, including attempted burglary, theft of merchandise, or possession of merchandise stolen from a railcar and/or motor carrier.”

To combat these issues, the bill includes a provision to allocate $2 million to establish a so-called “Supply Chain Fraud and Theft Task Force (SCFTTF)” within DHS.

The committee said that Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI and other major theft task forces would consult with state, local, tribal, territorial and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure that the task force “employs a coordinated, multi-agency, intelligence-based, and prosecutor-led approach to identifying, disrupting, and dismantling organizations primarily responsible for the theft and theft-related violence in the American supply chain.”

The bill passed the Appropriations Committee by a 33-26 vote and will move to the full House for a vote.

The American Trucking Associations said the provision in the DHS funding bill, championed by Rep. David Valadao (R-California), “will counter the sharp rise in cargo theft and broader supply chain fraud, addressing one of ATA’s strategic priorities.”

ATA commended the California rep for “directing Homeland Security Investigations to leverage its unique cross-border authorities to address this alarming trend,” said Henry Hanscom, ATA’s Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs. “This provision will strengthen the partnership between the government, law enforcement, motor carriers, and our supply chain partners to strike an effective blow against these organized theft groups.”

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said it has “long been concerned about the spike in all types of shipping fraud and the devastating effects on our members.”

Lewie Pugh, OOIDA executive vice president, added that the organization looks forward “to providing relevant and timely input on this initiative from the viewpoint of small-business truckers, [who] make up a majority of trucking and are the safest carriers on the highways. We should be doing all we can to root out bad actors, which not only compromise trucking business but highway safety as well.”

Pugh also highlighted OOIDA’s support for the Household Goods Shipping Consumer Protection Act, which would require brokers and freight forwarders to provide a valid principal place of business before getting operating authority and allow FMCSA to enforce civil penalties against entities that violate its regulations.

Artur Express partners with autonomous firm Kodiak Robotics

Artur Express Kodiak Robotics truckArtur Express is partnering with Kodiak Robotics to improve operations and support its drivers, the company said.Artur Express

St. Louis-based Artur Express (CCJ Top 250, No. 95) announced it is partnering with autonomous truck technology company Kodiak Robotics to enhance its network and operational capabilities, the company said.

In a June 11 blog post, Artur Express said collaborating with Kodiak will help expand its business, as well as help support Artur’s truck drivers.

“Kodiak’s technology can help give our drivers the tools they need to be successful when delivering loads across the country,” the blog post reads. “Keeping the drivers in mind is always the top priority for Artur Express. We strive to accommodate our drivers’ needs by getting them home on time when needed, providing the lanes they desire, and ensuring they’re in reliable and safe equipment.”

The company said working with Kodiak will help drivers be successful while alleviating some of the struggles of operating a truck on a day-to-day basis.

Large van line taps new president

Wheaton | Bekins (CCJ Top 250, No. 105), one of the nation’s largest van lines, has named Jim Gaw, a former Bekins Van Lines executive with a long history in moving and storage, as its new president.

Jim GawJim GawWith a career spanning more than two decades in the industry, Gaw's proven track record of driving growth lends itself to a positive outlook for the Indianapolis-based van line, the company said.

Coming to Wheaton | Bekins from his position of COO at APS Logistics, Gaw is a 12-year veteran of Atlas World Group International, where he served as President and COO. Prior to working at Atlas, Gaw worked at Bekins Van Lines as Vice President of International before Wheaton World Wide Moving acquired Bekins Van Lines in 2012.  

"As an ESOP company, everyone at the van line values innovation in pursuit of service excellence," said Mark Kirschner, CEO of Wheaton | Bekins. "Gaw's experience in the household goods industry, combined with his strategic vision and operational expertise, makes him the ideal leader to drive our company's strategic growth. His ability to foster relationships and lead high-performing teams will be instrumental as we expand our market share and enhance our service offerings."

As president, Gaw will oversee all aspects of Wheaton | Bekins' operations, working closely with Kirschner, the board of directors, and the executive committee to establish long-range goals, plans and policies to move the company forward.

"I am honored to join Wheaton | Bekins and look forward to working with this talented team to build on their strong foundation," Gaw said. "Together, we will continue to deliver exceptional service to our clients, expand our market presence and foster a culture of collaboration and excellence."

Deadline approaching for military veteran rookie trucker award nominations

The nomination period for the annual Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award that recognizes the nation’s top military veteran rookie truck driver is nearing its close. The nomination period will end June 20.

As part of the program, Kenworth will provide the grand prize for the ninth consecutive year. This year’s award is a T680 equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the Paccar Powertrain featuring the Paccar MX-13 engine rated at 455 horsepower, Paccar TX-12 automated transmission and Paccar DX-40 tandem rear axles.

The top driver will be determined by an expert panel of judges. To qualify, drivers must be e a legal resident of the continental United States and military veteran or current/former member of the National Guard or Reserves; must have graduated from PTDI-certified, NAPFTDS or CVTA member driver training school, with a valid CDL; and have been employed by any for-hire carrier or private fleet that has pledged to hire veterans and hired as a CDL driver after January 1, 2023.

Award semi-finalists will be announced on Aug. 1. Finalists will be invited to Columbus, Ohio, to tour the National Veterans Memorial and Museum and attend a reception, followed by a tour of the Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant, where the finalists will be announced. Public voting on the finalists will occur from Nov. 1-11. On Dec. 13, finalists will gather at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where the final award announcement will be made, and the winner will drive home in the Kenworth T680.