You might remember at the end of 2021 there was a port backlog crisis that choked an already strained supply chain. To avoid this from happening, some members of Congress are suggesting a bill to enlist the help of a previously-barred demographic: drivers not old enough to drink.
Truck drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to haul cargo across state lines, even if their starting point is inches from a bordering state. Likewise, the transportation of shipping containers from a port currently counts as interstate commerce under law, regardless of whether the journey is 1,500 miles or 1,500 feet. The reason for this oversight is because the journey’s classification is based on the container rather than the trucker driving it, so even if the driver is traveling intrastate, the shipping container is traveling interstate or internationally.
Representative Brian Masthas introduced the Ceasing Age-Based (CAB) Trucking Restrictions Act, which will enable truck drivers under the age of 21 to haul shipping containers provided the end destination is in the same state as the port from whence it came. Considering the size of some of these states (California, Texas, and Mast’s home state of Florida), there is a strong demand for these deliveries. With an estimated 100,000 truckers under 21, younger drivers would be capable of delivering a decent share of drayage.
Representative Mast says that CAB will eliminate “logistical hurdles in order to maximize the labor force in the United States and address a contributing factor of the supply chain crisis.” He hopes that should the bill pass, it would mitigate against having more port backlogs as with what happened in Long Beach and Los Angeles a little over a year ago.
The Bill is surprisingly short for a congressional document–it is only two pages long–and can be read on Mast’s website.
Currently the Bill is still with the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where it needs to be passed before it can be taken to a vote on the House and Senate floors. We will keep you posted if the Bill gets close to becoming law.
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