With the trucking industry facing customers with high capacity demands, twin 33 trucks could be the answer to a lot of problems. However, in addition to pending legislation, the rail industry may pose another obstacle on the road to capacity shipping.
The Current State of Twin 33 Trucks
As things stand, twin 33 trucks can legally operate in 20 states across the US. Twin 33s offer the additional space shippers are demanding to get goods to their destinations. Freight volumes in this country are projected to increase by 40 percent within the next 30 years due to population growth and trends in e-commerce. The trucking industry will be relied upon to move most of this cargo. With a gap in available drivers, having twin 33s on the road nationwide would increase efficiency and reduce truck miles by over 3 billion. Additionally, twin 33 trucks could reduce fuel usage by over 200 million gallons per year, reducing carbon emissions by over 4 billion pounds.
Railroads Stand in the Way
The Association of American Railroads has been pushing for legislation to maintain the status quo for commercial vehicles. They cite that the trucking industry at large does not pay its fair share to maintain the infrastructure used to transport goods. The rail industry feels twin 33 trucks would place an extra burden on highways without contributing to maintenance. The Association of American Railroads points to the Highway Trust Fund, which has required $143 billion since 2008 to maintain roads used by the trucking industry, asserting that larger vehicles would become an even larger funding sink.
The Reality of Twin 33 Trucks
The trucking industry, long at odds with rail freight, is making its own push into Washington, DC to shed some light on the topic. Allowing twin 33s to operate in all 50 states would come at no cost to taxpayers. The private sector, specifically the trucking industry, would pay for the overnight improvement in transportation efficiency. In fact, having higher capacity trucks available would offset the lack of available drivers. In the bigger picture, twin 33s would provide a boost to logistics chains, and ultimately lower the price of goods for consumers, because the cost of securing available trucks and the pressure on drivers would also be lowered.