By MICHAEL A. BIEKENSTEINReutersReutersThe Federal Railroad Administration will not renew a rail truck driver contract that expired in July, citing a shortage of drivers.
The agency said in a statement on Tuesday that it was continuing to review its procurement processes for truckers and had made no decisions regarding renewing the contract.
A trucker’s job consists of driving freight vehicles between regional centers and major markets and also includes the provision of safety and security to the company.
The contract expired in the spring and was awarded to a contractor, SBC Freight Rail LLC, based in Atlanta.
The company was acquired in July by Freightliner Transportation, a unit of Freightline, a freight rail transportation company based in Columbus, Ohio.SBC Freights will continue to operate freight operations and provide safety and cybersecurity to the trucker, the agency said.
The rail industry’s biggest driver of traffic congestion in the United States has been the increase in truckers using trucks and rail to transport goods.
In a recent survey, nearly half of freight rail operators surveyed said they were having trouble finding drivers, and a growing number are considering using other methods of transport to fill their trucking and rail needs.
In January, the Transportation Department announced a new requirement for the number of truck drivers in the U.S. workforce to increase to 1.5 million.
The agency also announced in May that it would expand the number for truck drivers from 1.2 million to 1 million over five years.