Moving Grain: Truckers Hours of Service Exemption Extended

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FMCSA Extends HOS Exemption to July 14

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended its national emergency exemption for hours of service (HOS) to July 14.

Effective June 15, the extension is limited to three categories of freight to support emergency response related to Covid-19—(1) Livestock and livestock feed; (2) Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; and (3) Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants.

The extension excludes grocery restocking, fuel and precursor raw materials, and other categories FMCSA deems non-emergency.

The exemption does not apply to routine commercial deliveries, “including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief” that have been added solely to get the benefits of the exemption.

ATRI Requests Motor Carrier Participation in Annual Operational Costs of Trucking Report

To complete its 2020 Operational Costs of Trucking report, the American Trucking Research Institute (ATRI) has asked for-hire motor carriers to provide operational costs data by Friday, August 21, 2020.

Grain News on AgFax

The for-hire metrics requested by ATRI include driver pay, fuel costs (all 2019 cost-per-mile and/or cost-per-hour data using ATRI’s online data entry form), insurance premiums, and lease or purchase payments.

ATRI collects this information directly from trucking fleets and owner-operators. Motor carriers and public-sector agencies widely use ATRI’s analysis as a benchmarking tool to inform their decisions in transportation planning and infrastructure investment.

Soybean Inspections Rebound, but Total Inspections Decline

For the week ending June 11, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions totaled 1.76 million metric tons (mmt). Total grain inspections were down 9 percent from the previous week, unchanged from last year, and down 23 percent from the 3-year average.

Soybean inspections increased 37 percent from week to week as shipments through the Mississippi Gulf and the Interior rebounded. However, the increase in soybean inspections did not completely offset the decreases for corn (down 22 percent) and wheat (down 7 percent) in the total.

Pacific Northwest (PNW) grain inspections increased 7 percent from the previous week, and Mississippi Gulf inspections decreased 16 percent from the same period. Outstanding export sales were also up from the previous week for soybeans, but down for wheat and corn.

Snapshots by Sector

Export Sales

For the week ending June 4, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 24.0 million metric tons (mmt). This represented a 1-percent decrease in outstanding sales from the same time last year. Net corn export sales were 0.661 mmt, up 4 percent from the past week.

Net soybean export sales were 1.004 mmt, up significantly from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales for the 2020/21 marketing year which began June 1 were 0.270 mmt.


U.S. Class I railroads originated 21,026 grain carloads during the week ending June 6. This was 1 percent less than the previous week, 1 percent less than last year, and 6 percent lower than the 3-year average.

Average June shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $84 above tariff for the week ending June 11. This was $116 more than last week and $141 lower than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.


For the week ending June 13, barge grain movements totaled 943,290 tons. This was 19 percent more than the previous week and 186 percent more than the same period last year.

For the week ending June 13, 617 grain barges moved down river—100 more barges than the previous week. There were 514 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 23 percent less than the previous week.


For the week ending June 11, 27 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the U.S. Gulf—13 percent more than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting June 12), 46 vessels were expected to be loaded—7 percent more than the same period last year.

As of June 11, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $35.50. This was 1 percent more than the previous week. The rate from PNW to Japan was $18.75 per mt, 1 percent more than the previous week.


For the week ending June 15, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 0.7 cents from the previous week to $2.403 per gallon, 66.7 cents below the same week last year.

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