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A bill was filed Wednesday in the U.S. House that would, if passed, exempt the smallest trucking companies — those with 10 trucks or fewer — from compliance with the U.S. DOT’s electronic logging device mandate on a permanent basis.
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Nearly a month into his job as FMCSA Administrator, Ray Martinez told an audience at the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) that he looks forward to “meeting great people” and having “productive conversations.”
Martinez addressed the TCA annual convention in Kissimmee, Fla., the morning of Mar. 26. The week before, Martinez spoke to a less friendly audience at the Mid-America Truck Show about the ELD rule.
“I wish (the conversation) could be more productive rather than just anger,” he said about that previous industry meeting. “I am looking for (TCA) for help on how to move the ball forward.”
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Chad Boblett is the owner and driver of Boblett Brothers Trucking of Lexington, KY. Chad also founded the Rate Per Mile Masters group on Facebook, a communications hub for more than 18,000 members, including owner-operators, truck drivers, and other transportation and logistics pros.
It might seem counter intuitive, but I always make sure to post my truck on the load board when there’s plenty of freight to choose from. That’s the best time to get calls from brokers who are willing to pay higher than average rates for loads that are going where you want to go.
A lot of carriers don’t want to post their trucks in a hot market. They worry that they’ll get bombarded with too many calls. My advice: Include more detail in your truck posting, and don’t forget to include your destination.
A lot of truckers will say that they leave the destination blank because they will go anywhere for the right money. That could be true, but it also opens the door to receiving calls about a broker’s “problem” loads — the ones that are hard to cover. Brokers have two main problems when covering loads: either the rate is too low, or the load is going to a dead market that no one wants to go to, or both.
Who wants to get calls on a broker’s problem loads? If you’ve positioned yourself in a market with plentiful freight, reward yourself by getting calls on loads that you really want. Believe me, brokers would much rather call a carrier on a load that matches what the carrier is looking for.
The first thing I learned using the DAT load board was how to get positioned in a hot market. This was because I knew the negotiating power of receiving a call from a broker that needs my service versus calling on loads with less priority.
It Pays to Be Flexible
If you were a broker, would you make the most calls on loads that have to get picked up today or on the loads that can get picked up some time in the next three days? You’re going to call about the one that’s more urgent.
As a carrier, if you are not posting your truck, then you are making calls on load posts. Those loads might be the ones that are less urgent. Rates and negotiations favor the side that has more flexibility. When the broker calls you about a load that needs to move today, there’s not much flexibility. That’s when you can negotiate for an above-average rate.
Contact us today to learn more about DAT load boards, or call 800.551.8847.
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Courtesy of CCJ sister site Overdrive, the graphic above shows how truck enforcers in each state are handling enforcement of the electronic logging device until April 1. Though the U.S. DOT required nearly all truckers who keep records of duty status to switch to an ELD by December 18, there’s somewhat of a soft enforcement period ongoing until April 1, the date established by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance for when out-of-service orders for non-compliance will begin being issued.
Two groups representing Sikh truckers and Punjabi truckers are petitioning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a delay in complying with the electronic logging device mandate for members who haul agricultural products, as well as small business trucker members.
SikhsPAC and the North American Punjabiz Trucker Association are requesting the delay for their “fresh produce shipper and small truck business members,” the exemption request states, who the groups say are not fully prepared to meet the mandate’s requirements. The groups also voice concerns over driver privacy in their request, as well as that the ELD marketplace doesn’t accommodate the needs of the agriculture hauling industry and doesn’t factor in existing exemptions.
Volvo Trucks this week said it expects to begin selling electric trucks in Europe in 2019, with the first units put into operation with select customers later this year.
Göran Nyberg, President of Volvo Trucks North America, says electric trucks drastically reduce noise and exhaust emissions and create new opportunities to manage logistics. For example, more freight can be moved at night, resulting in fewer trucks competing for road space during peak traffic times.
“By using electrically powered and quieter trucks for goods transport in urban areas, we meet several challenges simultaneously,” he says. “Without disturbing noise and exhaust gases, it will be possible to operate in more sensitive city centers. Transport may also take place throughout less busy periods, for example in late evening and at night. This will reduce the burden on the roads during daytime rush-hour traffic, allowing both the road network and vehicles to be utilized far more effectively than today.”
Nyberg says urban distribution and other pick-up and delivery applications are a starting point for battery-powered electric trucks, but he envisions broader deployment of electric trucks for freight movement in North America as technologies and the market mature. With well-developed logistics and more effective utilization of roads in the evenings and at night, it is also possible for many smaller vehicles to be replaced by fewer but larger vehicles, thus further contributing to lower emissions and less traffic. For example, distribution trucks have just over ten times the load capacity of a regular van. If a larger proportion of transport assignments could be carried out during hours when fewer people are on the road, this will also significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
“Volvo’s technology and deep understanding of electromobility are based on proven commercial solutions already used in Volvo’s electric buses, and solutions introduced in Volvo’s hybrid trucks as far back as 2010,” adds Keith Brandis Volvo Trucks North America vice president for product planning. “Electric vehicles will be part of our future, but the vehicles themselves are only one part of what is needed for large-scale electrification to succeed. Enabling long-term sustainable transport is a complex issue that requires a holistic and wide range of measures. We are working closely with customers, cities, suppliers of batteries and charging infrastructure, and other key stakeholders to create the necessary framework for battery-powered electric trucks.”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has said that a hack of the online tool drivers use to find medical examiners for DOT physicals is the cause behind the site’s now month-long outage. However, no data within the system, such as information on drivers, appears to have been compromised, the agency has told Overdrive.
“There was no evidence of exposure of the personal information of drivers, medical examiners or motor carrier operators,” the agency said in a statement to CCJ on Tuesday about the hack of the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
The registry’s website has been down since mid-December. However, examiners can still conduct exams of drivers and issue DOT-required medical certificates. The agency has instructed examiners to maintain results of physicals until the system is operational again, at which time they can upload results of the exams.
“The Department determined from its initial investigation that…there had been unauthorized access to the system. The incident remains under investigation, and the Department is working diligently to restore all impacted services to full functionality as soon as practicable.”
The registry was instituted in 2014 and requires drivers to use a DOT-certified examiner within the registry to receive their physicals and medical certifications. Examiners are required by a separate rule to upload the results of such physicals to FMCSA the same day.
Federal trucking regulators have granted a 90-day waiver to agricultural commodities and livestock haulers from installing electronic logging devices in their trucks, and issued a separate clarification on potential miles that are exempt from hours-of-service requirements for agriculture haulers.
In a pair of announcements, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it is granting the limited ELD waiver in response to a request by the National Pork Producers Council on behalf of eight organizations that represent transporters of livestock and other agricultural commodities.
The ELD waiver for agriculture and livestock haulers, published in the Federal Register on Dec. 20, will be in effect through March 18.
Four more trucking groups and fleets have filed for exemptions from the electronic logging device mandate that took effect in December.
Trash hauling and recycling fleet American Disposal Services (ADS), oilfield service fleet Cudd Energy Services (CES), the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and the Association of Energy Service Companies (AESC), which includes well service rig contractors, have each petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for ELD exemptions for five years.
In addition to requesting an exemption from the ELD mandate, ADS is also requesting an exemption from keeping paper logs. The garbage pick-up company, which has more than 300 CDL drivers, operates under the multiple-stop rule, it says, as well as the 100 air-mile short-haul exemption. Its drivers, however, exceed the 12-hour limit more than eight times in a 30-day period, requiring the use of ELDs.
Each route for ADS drivers has between 800 and 1,200 stops per day, and the drivers pick up trash at a home every 22 seconds, on average. Drivers currently leave the yard on driving time, and at their first stop, change their status to on-duty, not driving for the next 500 stops. When they go to a landfill, the switch back to driving status.
ADS says there is “no ELD that can accurately record driving time when the CMV makes constant short movements with the driver often exiting the vehicle.”
CES is requesting the exemption for its “specially-trained drivers of commercial motor vehicles specially constructed to service oil wells.” The exemption would cover approximately 939 drivers and 1,858 trucks. According to CES, the drivers are not eligible for the 100 air-mile radius exemption, so they are required to use ELDs.
The company says in its exemption request it plans to install equipment that would enable tracking of its trucks when communication capabilities exist, but these units would not meet AOBRD or ELD standards. CES adds that poor cell service in certain oilfield locations and prohibitions of cell phones and electronic equipment while on job sites would prevent drivers from logging into ELDs.
ARA is requesting an exemption for its member companies from the mandate, arguing the mandate places “undue economic and other burdens.” ARA relies on trucks to deliver their products and services to farms.
The group says its members need additional information and guidance on the ELD rule, and adds that ELD vendors and manufacturers don’t offer devices that meet their needs.
AESC’s exemption request is on behalf of well service rig contractors, who typically operate under the short-haul exemption but sometimes exceed the requirements of the exemption.
Without an exemption from the ELD mandate, AESC says, these drivers would have to monitor the number of days they exceed the requirements of the short-haul exemption. Contractors would also have to purchase ELDs, train drivers on them and monitor compliance, the group says.
The group adds these drivers spend little time on public roads and can spend between two and five days parked at a single location. Contractors are required to obtain state permits to drive well service rigs on public highways, and the rigs are then escorted as they move to their next location. If granted the exemption, AESC says drivers would continue to keep paper logs when necessary.
Tight capacity hammering shippers conditions: In the lead up to the year’s busiest freight season, market conditions for shippers continued to deteriorate, according to the monthly Shippers Conditions Index from FTR. The index’s reading in October plunged to one of its lowest points in recent years, with truck rates on both the spot market and contract market jumping due to tightened truck capacity, FTR reports.
The Shippers Conditions Index is usually a mirrored reflection of conditions for carriers, with negative conditions for shippers usually indicating positive conditions for trucking companies. Eric Starks, FTR’s chairman and CEO, said market conditions for carriers and shippers “have been diverging dramatically” since August.
“The hurricanes highlighted the lack of extra capacity available in the system. This has been followed by continued strong freight conditions in Q3 and into Q4. Shippers are really feeling the pinch right now, and there is fear that the ELD mandate will impact capacity in the spring,” he said. “We have essentially hit the 100 percent capacity mark – there is little, if any, excess truck capacity. Add in regulations, continued freight growth, or winter storms and we could be pushing that above 100 percent. That would leave shippers scrambling to get loads delivered. And that means paying premium rates for those deliveries. It may be a tough first half of 2018 for shippers.”