Road to storm relief fraught with restrictions for trucking companies

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief | 11/2/2012

Getting in and out of the East Coast storm-stricken areas continue to be problematic for trucking companies.

“The devastation is widespread and it’s early in the recovery,” said OOIDA Director of Security Operations Doug Morris, “but trucks are key to the relief. It’s critical that if you are coming in with an essential load, you be prepared with identification, paperwork and all.”

Drivers have reported problems getting access to the effective areas due to road closures and delivery delays due to credentialing issues such as not having some sort of company identification or no direct contact for delivery confirmation, etc.

On Wednesday, Morris was authorized by the National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC) to release access control information to OOIDA members who may be dispatched into storm-damaged areas and who will need details on credentialing. For a state roundup of the info, click here.

Morris said on Friday that that trucks traveling to New York City should try – whenever possible – to deliver during the hours of midnight to 6 a.m. via the Williamsburg Bridge and during other times use the George Washington Bridge.

Trucker delivering “essential goods” within New York City may be able to get a police escort to get them through the heavy traffic, says Morris. The number to call is 718-422-8748.

According to Morris, the FMCSA has confirmed that the Port of New York/New Jersey is currently waiving tolls for any vehicle involved in the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Morris says any company sending support to the affected area must call ahead to the New York City Transportation Desk at 718-422-8806. The following information will be required:

  • Name of vendor
  • How many trucks
  • Estimated time of arrive at the tolls
  • Where are they headed
  • What agency asked for their assistance

This information will be communicated with the NY/NJ Port Authority, and toll waiver relief will be granted if the driver can produce proper credentials. This includes a valid CDL and an employee ID stating they work for the company requesting toll relief.

Morris reports that affected states are being encouraged to be generous in what they consider relief items coming in aboard trucks. While trucks making deliveries of equipment such as generators and pumps are clearly relief efforts, deliveries of items like blankets, food for shelters, ready-to-eat food and more are also considered to be relief efforts. Should there be questions, states will have officials on the ground evaluating what does and what does not fall under the waivers implemented.

Related stories:
Hurricane Sandy aftermath prompts patchwork of waivers, restrictions
FMCSA waives HOS for trucks working hurricane relief efforts

Copyright © OOIDA