It’s been just over a month since the “soft enforcement period” has ended for ELD regulation, and while the shipping industry is seeing huge improvements with compliance, there are still a number of challenges facing truckload shippers. When truckload shipments become more complicated, requiring specialized equipment and longer cross-country hauls, the capacity crunch tightens. As we head into the summer and a heavier shipping season, what can freight shippers and carriers expect to encounter along the way?
According to a DAT Solutions survey, it appears that the majority of carriers are now using electronic logging devices to track their hours of service, with as many as 95% becoming ELD compliant. Over 60% of these carriers have added the compliant devices within the past three months, following the deadline date.
Carriers are confessing that the ELD mandate has a huge impact on day-to-day business, specifically in the way that they prioritize loads. The most significant factor impacting carriers? A huge increase in detention time – basically any time taking over the given 2 hours. Many shippers fail to recognize that time for loading/unloading freight counts as active “on duty” hours for the driver. The strict HOS (Hours of Service) rules can decrease an already limited amount of hours available for transit time. Carriers then have leverage to choose precisely who they want to ship with, and determine who may create problems for them on future loads.
So what’s to come? As expected, with drivers spending less time at the wheel in one run, transit times will continue to lengthen. This means that drivers have to take less loads per week as well, tightening capacity even further. If you need specialized equipment, such as conestogas, removable gooseneck (RGN) trailers, or require oversized permits, it may be harder than ever to get your load covered.
So what can a shipper do to appeal to available carriers? Proper warehousing protocol and smooth receiving and loading procedures is crucial. It may be a good idea for shippers to extend their warehouse hours to offset the congestion. Being flexible with packing your freight and having it staged and waiting with an adequately sized team for loading can also help decrease time spent at the loading dock.
Another option for shippers is to consider drop trailer freight programs. A carrier will haul a tractor to a shipper’s loading dock and pick up a previously loaded and left behind trailer. This can increase efficiency by decreasing detention time and likelihood of deadhead.
The ELD Mandate has made one thing clear: carriers are now in the driver’s seat when it comes to determining freight rates and who they will ship with. Shippers need to be vigilant now, more than ever, about shopping reputable carriers who know the ins and outs of the industry and can move freight at a competitive cost. With the NTDA Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip, NTDA members save on every truckload shipment. PartnerShip connects you with vetted, reliable truckload carriers, from flatbeds and step-decks, to cross-country and oversized loads. NTDA members save an average of $1,274 annually — stay competitive and ship smarter with PartnerShip. Visit PartnerShip.com/94ntda, call 1-800-599-2902, or email sales@PartnerShip.com.