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Changes Coming to the Trucking Industry in 2018

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2018 is almost upon us! Although 2017 has, overall, been an excellent year for the trucking industry, the ringing in of the new year is going to bring significant changes with it, that will impact the industry for several years to come! One that many analysts, business owners, drivers, and consumers are waiting for with bated breath, is the implementation of the ELD mandate, which is set to be deployed December 18, 2017, across North America. Here’s why.
What is the ELD Mandate?
The ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate has been a hot topic of discussion for a few years now, as studies, research and talks of implementation have been at the center of news stories, articles and blogs regarding the future of the trucking industry, and employee health. The ELD mandate is designed to prevent drivers from completing long hauls on the road, in an effort to reduce driver fatigue and numerous hours spent behind the wheel. Through recording their Hours of Service (HOS) drivers and the companies they work for can better gauge routes, productivity, and health and wellness, as well as complete a comprehensive analysis of driving habits such as idling and hard braking.
There are several benefits to implementing the ELD mandate, which has already been seen, such as reducing paperwork and the time needed to complete these reports for both drivers and logistics companies, and in monitoring on-route shipments, allowing dispatchers to communicate this information to clients better.
While the ELD Mandate is set to be implemented on December 18th, 2017, with full implementation to come in 2019, the industry is already seeing the impact that this could have in 2018.
Driver Productivity
For years, drivers have been working long hours as they ship products across North America. Where one driver may have previously handled a shipment in a set period of time, the ELD mandate is challenging these processes and procedures. As drivers will no longer be able to log fourteen to fifteen hours of driving at a time, it will increase the number of hours needed for shipments to arrive at their final destination. While this will ensure the decrease of driver fatigue and assist drivers in being able to maintain a healthy work/life balance, studies show that driver fatigue could decrease by 2.5% in 2018.
Noel Perry, who is the acting FTR transportation economist, has said, however, that “an over-the-road truck that’s maximizing its hours could see a 5-8% productivity hit, while other trucks that don’t run a full 70 hours a week may not be affected.” He also, “noted about 40% of U.S. fleets are currently already using ELDs and will have worked through any hit to their productivity.”
While it may cause the industry to have to reevaluate shipping schedules to allow for loads to be handed off from one driver to another, it holds many opportunities for individuals to enter into the trucking industry! Not only will the demand for drivers increase in addition to the growing demand that we see now, but it will create opportunities for increased warehousing in cities across North America, creating additional jobs and boosting the economy.
Trucker’s Market
2017 has been a challenging year for maintaining the fragile balance of supply and demand in the trucking industry. As the number of e-commerce companies grow and demand increases for the shipment of products and goods across North America, 2018 is believed to become a “truckers market” as the industry is set to rely on additional drivers to meet this growing demand. In addition to acquiring more drivers, shipping rates are set to increase as well, as more and more LTL shipments are required, and drivers are needed to transport products from point A to point B. While it does not come as a surprise that the industry is in need of more drivers, many are anxiously looking at the number of positions that must be filled in 2018 alone, and are working to attract individuals to the industry. To see how companies are working to attract additional drivers, read our latest blog here.
Moving Forward in 2018
Despite any challenges that logistics companies are foreseeing for 2018 due to the implementation of the ELD mandate, it is believed that 2018 will still be a year of growth and change in the industry. With any change comes uncertainty, which is a clear message across North America, but it is through these changes that the industry can create a firm foundation for growth. The implementation of electronic devices to measure driver fatigue and driving habits, the incredible technology fuelling driver automation, and the growing demand for improved infrastructure from roads and highways to warehouses and distribution points, will be crucial in maintaining growth and meeting demands in 2018.
2018 will prove to be an eventful year for the trucking industry, but we are excited to see how these fundamental changes will improve the industry instead of hinder it.