Truck Productivity Must Improve as Nation Grows: ATA’s Graves

America must focus on improving freight efficiency to meet the increasing demands of our nation’s growing population, ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said yesterday in his opening remarks at the Moving the World: The Future of Freight Transportation conference, hosted by Volvo Trucks North America, Volvo Group North America, and the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

“Consumers in the U.S. and across the globe demand fast delivery of life’s essentials,” Graves said. “Trucks help meet that demand and will continue as the preferred mode of freight transportation. However, our challenge as an industry is to accommodate the demands of a growing population in a safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly manner.”

Citing figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, Graves said the U.S. population increases by 2.6 million each year, which is equivalent to adding a new city of Chicago every year, on top of the 310 million already living in the U.S. With more people, cars and congestion across the country, improved truck productivity becomes a vital tool for maintaining global competitiveness, lowering the cost of consumer goods and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Following Graves’ remarks, The Future of Freight Transportation conference featured three panel discussions that took a deeper look at areas for improving truck productivity, environmental responsibility and safety.

During the panel discussion on safety, America’s Road Team Captain Ralph Garcia, a professional driver with ABF Freight System, shared his personal experience of how new truck technology saved his life while driving along a winding mountain highway. Garcia, who has driven over three million accident-free miles, said enhanced stability control (ESC) technology prevented his truck from rolling off the shoulder as he avoided an overturned vehicle.

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