he Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP), a group of 200 shippers and allied associations dedicated to safely and responsibly increasing the federal vehicle weight limit on interstate highways, today announced that CTP member International Paper (IP) testified before a key Congressional panel that the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act would safely modernize federal truck weight requirements by allowing states to grant interstate access to six-axle trucks weighing up to 97,000 pounds.
In prepared testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, Tom Kadien, senior vice president of consumer packaging for International Paper, said SETA would enhance the safety and productivity of International Paper’s truck shipments while minimizing fuel use and impact on the environment.
“Allowing heavier loads to move on safer and more appropriate six-axle trucks will give states the ability to optimize road networks, while allowing trucks to incorporate safer Interstate highways into their routes” said Kadien in his prepared testimony. “Six-axle trucks with weights equal to or more than those allowed by SETA are in wide use by our global competitors in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. Heavier trucks are supported by a wide body of research from state, federal, international and academic institutions.”
In his prepared remarks, Kadien also expressed support for the ongoing U.S. Department of Transportation study of more productive truck configurations – including the SETA configuration – and pointed out that SETA is already supported by a full body of research: “We are confident that the team at DOT is developing a balanced report that will support other previous positive safety research on this topic,” he said. “We believe that, when the time comes to pass the next highway and surface transportation authorization bill, the record will continue to be clear that SETA should be included. The time to act on sensible and safe truck weight reform is now.”
International Paper is one of the nation’s major leaders in freight movement, spending approximately $2 billion annually on logistics. SETA would present an opportunity for the company to increase trucking efficiency by 20 percent for 300,000 of its trucks trips each year while still maintaining safety standards. If, after congressional passage of SETA, the state of Oklahoma opted into the configuration, Kadien said one IP mill could eliminate more than 5,000 annual truck trips.