What are these ELDs Driving up Carrier Costs?

truckIn our last article, we discussed yet another factor that’s driving up the cost of lumber and other goods: the shipping itself. The demand for trucks is sky high as there’s more freight per truck available now than ever before.

Demand is not the only reason prices are going up, however. We are nearing the first deadline for drivers to comply with the ELD mandate. This can be expensive for some fleets, which may be reflected in fees. Given that cargo space is limited right now, the drivers are in a good position to demand higher pay.

But what is the ELD about, and will prices come back down?

ELD stands for Electronic Logging Device. It electronically record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS), replacing the paper logbooks used to track Hours of Service (HOS). Truck drivers have strictly enforced laws dictating how many consecutive hours they can drive and the number of hours required to rest in between drive times. The ELDs are integrally synchronized with a truck’s engine to accurately capture drive segments.

The mandate was published in December of 2015 and was created as a result of the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century bill, or MAP-21. As part of it, the FMCA was directed to develop a rule mandating the use of ELDs, for which drivers have until December of 2017 to comply. Trucks that already use automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) have until December of 2019 to meet the published specifications.

To avoid placing too big a burden of cost on an industry of truck drivers and fleet owners, smartphones, tablets, and rugged handhelds can be used as long as the system as a whole meets ELD requirements, which include a hardwired connection to the truck’s engine.

Despite the cost, ELDs do provide numerous benefits that help increase ROI. Drivers who use them are finding that the devices help them cut fuel costs, reduce paperwork, increase driver communication, and charge for detention time. Not thinking about the log books is a huge convenience as well.

So while the cost of shipping likely won’t be dropping soon, the ELDs could actually contribute to a decrease in carrier prices down the road. In the meantime, make sure your packaging is giving you the most out of the space you’re paying for. Packnet will help you determine if you’re missing any opportunities to optimize space, volume, materials, or anything else that gives you a cost-effective solution for life. Fill out a free assessment or call us at 952.944.9124.