How Shippers Could Help Offset the Impacts of the ELD Mandate

March 8, 2017 1

There’s been a lot of talk about how carrier companies and drivers must adjust their practices once the new electronic logging device (ELD) mandate goes into effect on December 18, 2017. Did you know shippers and receivers will be affected as well? As always, the trucking industry is a two-way street. As drivers adjust to stricter hours of service (HOS) regulations, so too must the shipping community.

So, what are some changes shipping and receiving facilities will need to address?

Be Proactive with Carriers

If you do business through a third-party logistics company (3PL), the 3PL should assess which of its contracted carriers utilize ELDs or have a transition plan in place. The 3PL should be proactive about ensuring its contracted carriers are preparing for the change. In general, companies that choose to adopt the technology later than others will experience an adjustment period that could lead to a loss of productivity.

To avoid any break in operations due to last-minute implementation of ELDs, begin a dialogue with your transportation providers about their ELD compliance plans as early as possible.

Adjust Expectations of Transit Times

With the ELD mandate in place, shippers may see an increase in the amount of time it takes to get a shipment from origin to destination, as Hours of Service (HOS) restrictions will be more effectively enforced. Drivers may find themselves sitting with a full load awaiting a reset to their HOS.

In addition, carriers and shippers alike must be sure their transit expectations align with legal driving hours. Asking drivers to exceed legal requirements could be considered driver coercion, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Expect Price Increases

Immediately following the December 18, 2017 compliance date, freight capacity may shrink due to the number of carriers who either cannot, or will not, comply with the ELD mandate. Of course, when capacity shrinks, prices increase. The exact percentage of anticipated increase is unknown, but shippers should be prepared to pay more based on limited capacity.

Streamline Operations to Maximize Driving Time

Shippers can help offset the capacity shortage brought on by the ELD mandate by utilizing best practices when working with carriers. In a white paper titled “660 Minutes: How Improving Driver Efficiency Increases Capacity,” J.B. Hunt offers suggestions for streamlining operations in order to shorten the amount of time drivers spend on duty, but not driving. These include:

  1. Reducing loading/unloading times
  2. Utilizing “drop & hook” vs. live loading
  3. Using flexible pickup and delivery times
  4. Creating safe, legal parking at pickup/delivery locations

J.B. Hunt estimates utilizing these best practices across the industry could increase driver efficiency by as much as 44,375 more miles per year, per driver. The increase in driver efficiency in turn creates additional capacity and lowers overall shipping costs. For more on shipping best practices, download the white paper.


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