ELD - The Ripple Effect

The best debates are held when both parties are right. The idea is not always to win the debate. The idea should be to present your side. In the best debates, both sides win. Todd Amen from ATBS got into one of these debates at least a year ago. Todd expressed the idea that rates would rise once the mandate was in place. He has proven to be right. My point was that the industry would find a way to reduce on duty not driving hours, and I have seen a significant time reduction in dock time. 

On December 19th, the marker went a little bonkers. The sudden rise in the truck to load ratio led to some incredible rates. Many small trucking companies who use the spot market did quite well in the aftermath. The "shock" has now worn off, and rates have subsided since that initial burst, but the year to year rate increase is significant. That proved Todd's point.

We have had a lot of money tied up in trailers. Even with a 4.5 - 1 trailer to tractor ratio, there are times when finidng an empty can be a challenge. Although with today's trailer tracking, it is a lot easier than it might otherwise be. We still have an issue with customers collecting trailers. That led to seeking more live loads and unloads. Now, every trucking company has to follow the same rules. That means that no one can freely wait for hour upon end at the dock without it cutting significantly into profits. That gives trucking companies more leverage to ask to get out within an hour. It has worked. That proves my point.

Almost every trucker has been in a situation where halfway though a load the lift truck operator was pulled off to fulfill another task. Maybe production needs a lift truck operator for something. It did not matter as long as the drivers' time did not cost the customer. Now, if it cost these customers they are finding other ways. Maybe they will set up production with enough supply so that they don't have to call the operator away/ Perhaps they will purchase another lift truck or pallet jack so that the operator is no interrupted. Companies are concerned with their own profitability. So - when it costs more to make a trucker wait than the alternative, companies will find the alternative.

Free has always been the enemy of overall efficicncy. Whenever something is free it will inevitably be wasted. It is time for us to work together with our customers and their customers to become more efficient. 

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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