FMCSA clarifies, expands range of cargo included under HOS waiver

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is providing more detail as requests come in about what is covered under the agency’s emergency hours-of-service (HOS) waiver.

The FMCSA expanded its original order, issued on March 13 in response to supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus emergency, to include raw materials such as paper, plastic and fuel used to make essential items.

In response to urging from a variety of industry sectors, the agency published an FAQ on Wednesday defining other commodities included in the waiver, including fertilizer, food packaging and feed products.

“We thank Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao and FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen for adding fertilizer to the essential commodities list,” commented The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “At the end of the day, it’s about putting food on Americans’ tables.”

Rosenbusch pointed out that fertilizer relies on trucking to get crop nutrients to farmers. “With the spring planting session upon us, any delays could lead to farmers not getting the essential crop nutrients when and where they are needed to grow the food, fuel and fiber our world needs.”

A group of 53 farm- and food-related associations, including the National Grain & Feed Association, had urged FMCSA to include animal food and feed ingredients, which the agency granted. It explicitly stated that pet food, however, was not included, despite urging from the Pet Food Institute.

The updated guidance also clarified that raw materials used to manufacture bleach, disinfectants, hand sanitizers and similar items are covered.