April 24, 2018

The trucking industry continues to experience changes as more carriers adapt to the ELD mandate, which is now in full effect as of April 1. Before the mandate, drivers would fill out paper logs, which meant that hours could be exaggerated. Now with the mandate in full effect, drivers are bound to the hours recorded on their device, and once the clock starts running, it doesn’t stop!

ELD Impact on Productivity

While the ELD mandate is having a positive effect on safety, many carriers are complaining of a decrease in productivity. According to drivers, this is due to the lack of flexibility for Hours of Service (HOS). Under the ELD mandate, drivers are only allowed to work for 14 hours a day. Yet these 14 hours may not all be spent working. Drivers are not allowed to pause their devices once they’ve started for the day, which means that hours spent waiting during loading/unloading, being stuck in traffic, or searching for parking can leave little time for actual driving.

Average Load/Unload Times

95% of drivers are struggling to deliver their loads on time. According to drivers, a large part of the problem is coming from inefficient loading and unloading at the shipper. Over 50% of drivers say that it takes it takes at least 2 hours to load or unload, which then causes the drivers to have to delay or cancel their other loads.

In order to help drivers adapt, shippers can take HOS into consideration during loading and unloading. This will prevent drivers from wasting driving hours while being detained. For increased efficiency, drivers should be prioritized based on HOS remaining. It’s important for shippers to increase communication between the dock and receiving gate to reduce loading and unloading times for drivers.

Increasing Rates

As market productivity decreases, rates are steadily increasing. This is due in part to the capacity constraints and the recent shortage of drivers. The volume of freight being shipped is increasing, but without enough drivers to meet demand, rates will continue to rise. Existing drivers are also demanding higher wages to compensate for their reduced driving hours, which contributes to the rate increase. On top of the capacity issues, the market has seen heightened fuel surcharges and intense weather conditions during 2018, which has affected rates as well.

Effect on Small Fleets

Small fleets are having the most difficulty adapting to the new standards, which is unfortunate for the market because these small carriers (with 20 or fewer trucks) make up over 90% of the industry. Small companies are starting to look for shorter hauls while larger fleets are taking longer hauls. The dividing point seems to be the lanes between 450 and 700 miles.

These trips, which used to be able to be completed in one day, are now taking up to 2 days with the new HOS requirements. Small carriers can’t afford to spend half a day finishing a 450-700 mile lane when they could use the full day on a new load. Many small companies are starting to look for weekend freight to make up for the hours of lost productivity during the week. Several small carriers have been forced out of business, which only contributes to the current capacity constraints.

How Can You Adapt to the ELD Mandate?

As a shipper, here’s a few actions that you can take.
• Utilize your 3PL for communication and rate negotiation
• Make your loading and unloading processes more efficient
• Ask drivers about their HOS once at your location to use their time effectively

Have questions about the mandate and how you can use Spot for communication and rate negotiation? Contact us below!

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