According to a new survey of 257 carriers and owner-operators by DAT Solutions, most drivers spend three to four hours waiting to get loaded or unloaded. 54% of the carriers surveyed stated that they wait between three to five hours every time they arrive at a shipper’s dock. A whopping 9% said that they wait more than five hours on average. There has been very little consideration for the wasted time of the driver and the cost of a $200,000 truck and refrigerated trailer sitting at the dock for hours, but that will soon change.
54% of the carriers surveyed stated that they wait between three to five hours every time they arrive at a shipper’s dock.
The Need For More Trucks And Rates Will Increase
When the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is implemented in December 2017, strict adherence to federally mandated hours of service regulations will turn these dock delays into service failures. A conversation with a small fleet owner demonstrated the disruptive nature of the ELD mandate. He said, “97% of all trucking companies have 20 trucks or less. We haven’t fully implemented this technology yet, but when we do, you’ll likely see a need for more trucks and rates will increase to make up for the decreased capacity.” The refrigerated sector, which is most often delayed by shippers and receivers, may start experiencing extended transit times because the unnecessary detention will no longer be hidden in paper log books. The days of sitting at a dock all day, then driving all night to the destination are soon ending.
The days of sitting at a dock all day, then driving all night to the destination are soon ending.
Once a driver wakes up and moves their truck, the hours of service clock starts ticking and cannot be stopped. Creative paper log books have hidden the inefficiency of shippers and receivers for years, but after ELD implementation, these delays will balloon into increased transportation costs for the shipper. Delays at the dock will impact a carrier’s transit times and load schedule. If the first delivery of the week is delayed, the rest of the scheduled loads will be negatively impacted – leading to lost revenue.
Produce and Live Animal Transport has Added Complexities
The transportation of produce has added complexities. Bumper crops, specific harvest seasons and spoilage prevention all add difficulty to the already over-regulated business of trucking. The addition of mandatory ELDs will most likely lead to a capacity crunch at best and a substantial driver shortage at worst. Rates will probably increase because the demand to transport produce, which has a very limited shelf life, will be met with a decreased supply of available trucks and hours to drive.
Currently, bee and livestock transporters have successfully petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for hours of service exemptions. The business of transporting live animals has special considerations that are usually overlooked when sweeping regulations are implemented. Regulations have been temporarily suspended in times of disaster and national emergency. Weight limits have been suspended during hurricane clean up as logging and waste trucks move the cleared debris. Fuel transporters have seen their hours of service regulations suspended in times of extreme cold or supply disruptions. Once the ELD mandate is fully implemented, the “just-in-time” nature of produce transport and other time sensitive commodities, may experience disruptions of their own.