Washington, D.C. – The National Grocers Association (NGA) applauded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) extension of their Hours of Service emergency declaration, which was set to expire today, but is now extended through November 30.
FMSCA has provided hours-of-service flexibility for commercial drivers transporting certain categories of eligible items critical to the supply chain since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency announced the extension to the waiver based on input from independent grocers.
“Independent grocers, whether retail of wholesale, have been working around the clock for over a year to keep shelves stocked and their communities fed,” said Robert Yeakel, NGA director of government relations. “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.”
Last week, NGA met with agency representatives to advocate for a continuation of the Hours of Service waiver. Data provided by member wholesalers illustrated the continued supply chain pressures and difficult market conditions that have persisted since the beginning of the pandemic. NGA also asked the agency to announce a long-term waiver, giving its wholesaler members greater surety that these regulatory flexibilities would be available through the upcoming holiday seasons.
“We thank FMCSA for the responsiveness and inclusivity it has have shown our independent grocers during this process,” Yeakel added. “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.”