Trucking Through the ELD Mandate

In the last few years, the trucking industry has seen a multitude of changes. Following the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed in 2011- shippers, carriers, and supply chain professionals have been required to follow a list of new strict requirements. The latest of these requirements, and arguably the biggest hurdle, being The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandate which requires nearly all U.S. truck operators to use electronic logging devices (ELDs). The mandate went into effect on December 16th of last year and impacts not only truckers, but trucking insurers, carriers, suppliers, and shippers and shipping costs.

The full spectrum of industry-effected areas is much too vast to cover, but there are a few areas that are seeing immediate and impactful changes.

Capacity and productivity: Prior to the ELD mandate going into effect, it was predicted that the mandate would create a shortage of between 200,000 and 300,000 trucks, leading to a drop in driver productivity as well as shipping capacity. While this was a slight overestimate, there has been a significant drop in available trucks for shipment.

Hiring: The ELD mandate was put into place partially to ensure that drivers are not choosing to, or being asked to, operate beyond Hours of Service (HoS) that the FMCSA has designated as safe. Many drivers are concerned with privacy and other issues, and some are choosing to leave the industry as a result. And considering that there is already a driver shortage, this further exacerbates the problem.

Shipping costs: Due to a reduction in capacity, shipping costs are rising. It is expected to see at least a 10% jump in shipping costs, with a margin for more depending on combinations of other regulations.

Loading and shipping: Due to the processes of the ELDs, when drivers are waiting on a load at a dock or when drivers are backing into a dock being loaded, that time is counted as “on-duty” time. This means that while they are sitting dormant and not driving, that time counts against their actual driving time, thus further lengthening the total number of hours (or days) it may take a load to get from Point A to Point B.

Here at Southern Valley, we are committed to utilizing innovative methods and we are working hard to remain ahead of the game, and keep everything as effective and efficient as possible. To combat the new challenges associated with the recent ELD mandate, we have implemented a shift system at our loading docks so that we have eighteen hours of coverage  in the shipping/receiving departments every day. We have also begun transitioning shipments that formerly were done in a day into two to three day shipments to account for the limitations of the Hours of Service requirements. We’re establishing an appointment-based system for all incoming and outgoing orders and shipments, in order to reduce driver wait-times on the yard. The goal is to minimize wait-time as much as possible while providing premier produce to all segments of the economy.

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