The National Grocers Association (NGA) has praised the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) extension of their Hours of Service emergency declaration, which was set to expire Monday, but is now extended through the end of the 2020 calendar year.
Since March, FMSCA has provided hours of service flexibility for commercial drivers transporting certain categories of eligible items critical to the supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic. On a month-by-month basis, the agency has extended its waiver based on input from supply-chain sources and various industries.
While a previous June waiver extension removed grocery and food loads from regulatory relief eligibility, NGA and its wholesaler members were able to successfully advocate for continued inclusion of food loads. NGA also pushed the agency to issue a long-term waiver, giving its wholesaler members greater confidence that these regulatory flexibilities would be available through the upcoming holiday season.
“We thank FMCSA for the responsiveness and inclusivity it has have shown our independent grocers during this process,” said Robert Yeakel, director of government relations at Arlington, Virginia-based NGA. “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 get this regulatory relief across the finish line.”
“Independent grocery wholesalers have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep shelves stocked and Americans fed,” noted Chris Jones, NGA’s SVP of government relations and counsel. “Truckers are essential to this process, serving as the backbone to the food supply chain, and NGA appreciates FMCSA taking action to include these heroes in its Hours of Service emergency declaration.”