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Grocers Applaud Extension of Federal Trucking Rules Waiver

Pandemic measure helping keep stores in stock, NGA says
Photograph: Shutterstock

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has tacked on another three months to its emergency declaration waiving some hours-of-service rules for pandemic-related trucking.

Independent grocers are applauding a decision this week by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to tack on another three months to an emergency declaration that waives certain hours-of-service rules.

The declaration, which was enacted amid the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last March and was set to expire Aug. 31, is now extended through Nov. 30.

The National Grocers Association, which has argued that the measure has helped to keep its members’ stores in stock amid supply-chain disruption that has continued beyond the immediate crisis, said its input helped to influence the decision.

 “Independent grocers, whether retail of wholesale, have been working around the clock for over a year to keep shelves stocked and their communities fed,” Robert Yeakel, NGA director of government relations, said in a statement. “Like many other industries operating during this pandemic, our supply chain has suffered shocks that will continue to reverberate. We’re grateful to FMCSA for not only listening but responding to the issues our wholesalers are facing.”

Last week, NGA met with agency representatives to advocate for a continuation of the Hours of Service waiver, the group said. Data provided by member wholesalers illustrated the continued supply chain pressures and difficult market conditions that have persisted since the beginning of the pandemic. NGA also asked the agency to announce a long-term waiver, giving its wholesaler members greater surety that these regulatory flexibilities would be available through the upcoming holiday seasons.

“We thank FMCSA for the responsiveness and inclusivity it has have shown our independent grocers during this process,” Yeakel added. “Having our wholesalers provide the agency with on-the-ground data on current grocery supply chain issues was instrumental. I can’t say enough about the perspective our members were able to bring to the conversation with FMCSA to make the case for continued regulatory relief.”

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