Last year 88 percent of the U.S. adult population purchased goods online and it’s predicted to increase even more by 2024, when there are expected to be 263 million digital buyers. E-commerce is no longer a new phenomenon in our economy, it’s a staple of how customers purchase essential and non-essential goods. The process of online shopping from start to finish incorporates several industries, but the most important are the shipping and logistics companies that deliver goods from the seller to the consumer.
The increase in e-commerce also means that shipping and logistics companies like FedEx, UPS, and Amazon need to modify their operations to deliver more cargo, but it’s not as simple as one may think. A majority of U.S. freight is transported by trucks that are regulated by state and federal governments, which makes it more difficult for shipping companies to adapt when the volume of goods they are delivering increases. One simple, cost-effective, safer, and more sustainable solution is for Congress to update a decades-old regulation that no longer makes sense for the trucking industry in 2021, which is to allow trucks known as Twin 33s to operate.
Florida already knows this is the best solution because Twin 33s have successfully and safely operated in-state since 2010. A Twin 33 is simply a truck with two connected thirty-three-foot trailers, which are only five feet longer than the twenty-eight feet currently permitted by federal regulations. And modestly increasing the length of this type of cargo truck doesn’t change the federal 80,000 lbs weight limit, which isn’t an issue when transporting e-commerce packages. Twin 33s will fill to capacity before coming close to hitting the weight limit because online goods are often lighter and packaged in oddly shaped boxes and materials.
Twin 33s have operated in Florida for over a decade on one of the country’s busiest highways – the Florida Turnpike – from Orlando to Miami with zero accidents. This translates to over 1.4 million miles safely delivering packages from point A to point B. Highway safety is critical, especially when over a million drivers use the Turnpike every day. Twin 33s are safer because they can deliver more goods and therefore help cut down highway congestion by having fewer trucks on the road.
These freight delivery vehicles are also more sustainable and cost-effective. According to Americans for Modern Transportation, if Twin 33s can operate across the country, 255 million gallons of fuel and 6.3 billion pounds of CO2 emissions would be saved each year. As the same data revealed, increasing the length of these trucks by a small amount also increases their operational efficiency by 18 percent, which leads to lower shipping costs for customers.
The simple fact is that more e-commerce packages per truck make the shipping process safer and more sustainable while also reducing the price for consumers and carriers. Florida Senator Rick Scott already understands the many benefits of Twin 33s, and as a cabinet manufacturer, we urge him to advocate on behalf of our state’s safety record and economic success by pushing for these trucks to operate on all U.S. highways.
By Jonathan Andrews, Chairman of Florida First Forever. Mr Andrews can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org