The logistics industry has been preparing for the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate rollout since the FMCSA announced the initiative in 2015. We’ve heard from shippers wanting to know how the mandate will affect their freight. Will prices go up? Will transit times be impacted? With the ELD mandate less than one week away from going into effect—December 18—we’re answering the top questions shippers are asking.

About the ELD Mandate:

The ELD mandate requires most motor carriers and drivers, who are currently required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records, to use electronic logging devices to record their time on and off-duty. The mandate goes into effect on December 18 with an enforcement grace period. During this time, vehicles not equipped with the required ELD device will not be placed out of service or receive points against their safety scores until April 2018, but they could receive fines for each violation cited.

Top 5 ELD Mandate Questions Shippers are Asking

1. What Impact will ELDs have on transit times?

ELDs are intended to electronically record the number of hours a driver is behind the wheel. They will replace the majority of paper logbooks, which are easier to alter, enabling operators to drive more hours than legally allowed. This change could have an impact on transit times, especially in the range of 450 to 800 miles. According to Transport Topics, one carrier reported many 400 to 600-mile jobs went from a one-day haul using paper logbooks to a shift-and-a-half using electronic logging devices. If ELD requirements push trips to a second day, this creates a loss of revenue, from the carrier’s perspective, because they are delaying their opportunity for a reload.

2. What impact will ELDs have on capacity?

Trucking capacity across the country is already running close to 95 percent, reports Transport Topics, mainly due to high demand, a strong GDP, recent hurricanes, and the increasing driver shortage. Analysts predict the ELD mandate could result in a capacity decline of approximately 7 percent in the for-hire carrier sector, and American Trucking Associations (ATA) is reporting a projected loss of 50,000 trucks from the market. There’s a chance that some owner-operators could choose to leave the industry to avoid spending money on ELDs and learning a new technology, particularly those drivers or owners who are nearing retirement or have other vocational opportunities.

3. How will ELDs affect shipping rates?

Nothing is definite until shippers can analyze and compare invoices or quotes before and after the date of official ELD implementation. However, most industry analystsforesee average shipping rate increases of 3 to 5 percent, in some cases, even higher. These rate changes come at the expense of lost productivity and attempt to cover any additional costs associated with implementing ELDs. Many drivers believe the ELD implementation will limit their flexibility in transit time, which may force carriers to negotiate higher load prices.

4. How will you manage ELD compliance?

As a non-asset 3PL, we don’t own trucks that need ELDs installed, but we have a compliance department dedicated to vetting and managing our 17,000+ carrier network. We require all carriers be in full compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. These regulatory requirements are documented in our broker-carrier contracts.

5. What can shippers do to prepare for the ELD mandate?

  1. First and foremost, have conversations with your logistics partners. Ask questions about how ELDs may impact your lanes. Understand the fundamental HOS limitations for drivers and how it can impact transit times. You can obtain further information around HOS regulations by visiting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.
  2. Review lanes between 450-800 miles. Those are line hauls where carriers may have previously delivered in 1-day with paper logs, but when ELDs are in place, those lanes may become a 2-day transit time with inherent rate increases. A 3PL like GlobalTranz can help analyze your lanes and identify areas of vulnerability to provide you predictable shipping times, rates, and help you meet your customer requirements.
  3. Increase your lead time on shipments. The more time your logistics partner has to book a shipment, the more leverage they have to secure the best carrier for your lane, identify efficiency improvements, and negotiate rates.
  4. Work towards driver accommodation by being flexible and allowing for carriers to drop trailers at your facilities when applicable. This will give the drivers a higher chance of controlling their HOS limitations and remain within legal parameters.
  5. Consider multimodal or intermodal shipping. Combining rail and truck transportation for loads going 700+ miles can drive consistency, fuel savings and reduced emissions into your supply chain. One railcar can hold the equivalent of roughly four trucks, so shipping by train can help relieve truck capacity constraints. Discuss intermodal options with your logistics service provider to understand if it makes sense for your shipments.

Planning is Everything

As the ELD mandate rolls-out, shippers and logistics providers will likely see changes, but until we’ve lived in this new reality for several months, we can’t be sure of the full impact. The more information you have in advance of the change, the better off you’ll be to effectively plan and budget. As more questions arise about ELDs, and the FMCSA provides guidance on these issues, we will be here to help you adapt as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

Learn more about how GlobalTranz can help you mitigate the impact of the ELD mandate. Contact 866.275.1407 or info@globaltranz.com