Covid Continuance for Expediters

By: Brandon Baxter - Staff Writer
Posted: Sep 9th 2022

As we've seen over the past two and a half years, since COVID-19 became a consistency in daily life, the transportation industry has been hailed, in many cases, as a breeding ground for heroes. Along with the frontline hospital and medical workers who have been doing their best to keep us healthy, truckers, and especially expediters, were pressed to the forefront of the COVID battleground.

Since it appears that we are definitely going to have to make do with living in a COVD world for a while, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) extended its waiver of regulations related to the COVID national emergency declaration.

What's the Waiver of Regulations?

That waiver, as it's detailed in the COVID information page found on the administration's website, exempts some truckers from maximum-drive-time limits in the hours-of-service code of federal regulations.

This latest waiver went into effect on September 1st and will proceed through October 15th.

For those of you expediters who were heavily counted on during the initial onset of the pandemic, and maybe it was your way of staying busy enough to keep the lights on at home and put food on your family's dinner table, this waiver will allow you to continue to be just as expeditious as you might typically be in any other case.

What Type of Freight Does the Waiver Specify?

This latest extension of the Waiver of Regulations provides relief for carriers providing what's being referred to as "direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19." The waiver is limited to a list of the same commodities that were exempted with the previous waiver.

The following list of commodities designate the type of freight that is currently accepted under the extended waiver:

  • Livestock and livestock feed.
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Gasoline, diesel, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), jet fuel, ethyl alcohol, and heating fuel including propane, natural gas, and heating oil.

The FMCSA states that the term "direct assistance" does not include the non-emergency transport of qualifying commodities or routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief.

To be eligible for these exemptions, the haul must be a load of qualifying commodities (see list above) and also pursuant of the "immediate restoration of those essential supplies."

In other words, expediters still have the opportunity to make additional income while serving the community in that hero role that was established at the height of the pandemic.

As always, stay safe out there!

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