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05 Apr 2018

Trucking Industry in a Crunch

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AMTR has been on the road again, traveling to conferences across the U.S. One of our recent stops was at NITL2018 (National Industrial Transportation League), held in Dallas, Texas. At the conference, there was significant focus on trucking industry issues.

One of the biggest themes was capacity. Whether it was hours-of-service regulations (which are limiting driver times), the lack of truck parking availability (which is forcing drivers to stop short of their hours of available drive time), driver detention (which is reducing drive time due to loading and unloading delays), or delivery demands (more trucks making longer final-mile deliveries to residences), the impacts are generating a capacity crunch, which is of great concern to the industry and shippers alike.

Another hot topic was the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. A reflection on the European ELD implementation revealed a 16.6% reduction in miles driven, which is a significant impact. Furthermore, there is a concern about the cost of the ELD mandate, as well as the unintended impact on driver retention. If trucking companies cannot comply with the ELD mandate due to cost or other factors, they may be forced out of business.

Rising operational costs for carriers were also well-discussed. Besides complying with mandates such as ELD, the decaying state of highway infrastructure was highlighted as another considerable cost factor. As infrastructure ages, carriers are seeing more costs associated with repairs for damaged tires and equipment, and longer, more expensive routes generated by impassable roads and bridges.

Understanding more about these and other significant industry issues can allow shippers to be more prepared and proactive. Actions that strategize to allow drivers more drive time—such as quicker loading and unloading scenarios, informing carriers of any special equipment or service needs, and maintaining a consistent shipping schedule—will be important. Similarly, planning ahead for the increased costs of doing business will be essential for shippers and carriers alike.

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