Coalition of largest shippers/retailers urge Congress to allow twin 33 trailers

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 2/19/2019

A coalition that includes large corporations such as Amazon, FedEx, UPS and XPO Logistics is lobbying for longer trucks. Americans for Modern Transportation wrote a letter to House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure urging lawmakers to allow twin 33s.

On Feb. 6, Americans for Modern Transportation sent a letter to Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the transportation committee, and Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., the committee’s ranking member. The group suggested at least one way to improve the nation’s infrastructure: a five-foot increase to twin 28-foot trailers.

According to the letter, the coalition claims that a size increase for trailers will have several benefits but at no cost to taxpayers, including reduced congestion, improved safety, economic benefits, longer life cycle for roads/bridges and environmental gains.

Backing those claims, the coalition claims that twin 33s will save 53.2 million hours in congestion as a result of fewer trucks needed on the road. The letter cites research that suggests adopting twin 33s will result in 4,500 fewer truck crashes. The group claims that the longer trailers are safer than twin 28 trailers.

Furthermore, the coalition suggests that with 18 percent fewer truck trips needed with twin 33s, consumers will experience lower shipping costs and quicker delivery times, a savings of $2.6 billion a year. With 3.1 billion fewer truck miles traveled annually, Americans for Modern Transportation assert that twin 33s will greatly reduce the impact on roads and bridges. Additionally, 255 million fewer gallons of fuel will be burned, resulting in 2.9 million few tons of CO2 emissions.

Federal lawmakers have looked at this issue several times in the past. In 2015, three U.S. senators spoke out against a similar proposal. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said it “is one of the worst proposals I’ve heard in my lifetime of public service.”

In 2016, The U.S. Department of Transportation released the results of its Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study as mandated by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. Not enough data was available regarding crashes, but the report found that twin 33s had higher inspection violations than standard five-axle single 53-foor trailers.

According to its website, Americans for Modern Transportation represents the nation’s largest shippers, deliverers and retailers. Founding members include Amazon, American Highway Users Alliance, Carbon War Room, Estes Express Lines, FedEx, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, International Foodservice Distributors Association, International Warehouse Logistics Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council, North American Council For Freight Efficiency, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Securing America’s Future Energy, Sysco, The National Industrial Transportation League, ULINE, UPS, U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, and YRCW.