Since March 2020, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, FMSCA has provided hours-of-service flexibility for commercial drivers conveying certain categories of eligible products critical to the supply chain. The agency has extended the waiver based on feedback from independent grocers.
“Independent grocers, whether retail or wholesale, have been working around the clock for over a year to keep shelves stocked and their communities fed,” noted Robert Yeakel, director of government relations at Washington, D.C.-based NGA, the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale community grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. “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.”
Earlier, NGA met with agency representatives to push for a continuation of the hours-of-service waiver. Data provided by member wholesalers showed the ongoing supply chain pressures and difficult market conditions that the pandemic has wrought. NGA also asked the agency to issue a long-term waiver covering the upcoming holiday season.
“We thank FMCSA for the responsiveness and inclusivity it has shown our independent grocers during this process,” continued Yeakel. “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.”