Milling & Baking News - May 8, 2018 - 20
Transportation and Distribution
Rising truck freight rates
add to shippers' costs even
as E.L.D. chaos subsides
Rail delays also add
to frustration for
Continued from Page 1
drivers for fleets and independent
drivers went through a sharp learning
curve with E.L.D.s, Mr. Klemp said.
And on the "backside," the norms
used to calculate routes, hours and the
like were changed by the strict timing
permitted by E.L.D.s.
"There is a negative impact on capacity," Mr. Klemp said. "It's a mess,
but that will straighten out."
E.L.D. compliance rates hit 97% by
April 1, according to a survey by CarrierLists, an on-line carrier (trucks)
sourcing service for freight brokers
and shippers. Reports indicated that
smaller fleets and individual owneroperators were the slowest to comply
with the E.L.D. mandate.
"All the E.L.D. deadlines have now
come and gone," CarrierLists said on
its web site in mid-April. "The chaos
most expected hasn't materialized.
Capacity is still tight, but the market is adjusting rather smoothly. One
of these adjustments is the changing behavior of shippers. E.L.D.s will
continue to force shippers to focus on
becoming more and more efficient not
20 / May 8, 2018
Milling & Baking News
only on the dock, but throughout their
entire supply chain."
Some of the "chaos" was minimized
because many large carriers converted
to E.L.D.s well ahead of the mandate's
due date, in some cases years earlier,
and as a result saw minimal impact.
One such company was Omaha, Neb.based Werner Enterprises.
Derek Leathers, president and chief
executive officer of Werner, said at the
National Grain and Feed Association
annual meeting in March that Werner
has been using E.L.D. technology for
about 20 years. The E.L.D. roll-out was
"troubled," but the industry would
adjust, he said, but the more fundamental problem was attracting and
keeping qualified drivers.
In a similar fashion, shippers also
had ample opportunity to prepare
for the E.L.D. mandate, even if they
couldn't totally anticipate its impact.
Karl Groschen, director of planning
and logistics at A.B. Mauri, said the
company has seen an impact in freight
rates and truck availability as the result of the E.L.D. mandate, but they
mitigated much of the impact by identifying which shipments may have
been affected and met with carriers
well ahead of the effective date to get
positive confirmation that those carriers were fully E.L.D. compliant.
Most in the food and transportation industries, including Mr. Klemp,
agree that E.L.D.s weren't the real issue. Rather, E.L.D.s exposed the longrunning problem of a shortage of
truck drivers that has been developing
for years. It was E.L.D.s that appear
to have tightened logging, or documentation, of actual driving time that
tightened available freight capacity
and fully exposed the driver shortage.
Although a driver shortage has
been talked about for years, its effect
became much more evident as E.L.D.s
had the effect of tightening, or reducing, actual driving hours that could
have been "fudged" a bit by adjusting for traffic jams, loading waits and
other factors with paper logbooks.
"There's a real labor crunch,"
Mr. Klemp said. "It's getting harder
and harder to find drivers. Trucking
is physically demanding. A lot of
freight moves at night when there is
less traffic and for early morning delivery. Truckers tend to work 50 to 60
hours a week. We're racing toward a
point in the third or fourth quarter
that, unless something magical happens, we simply will be net short of
He doesn't expect anything "magical" to happen that will solve the driver shortage in the short term. He said it
takes about two years for a new driver
to become "highly employable."
Mr. Klemp said he expects many
fleets will increase driver pay twice this
calendar year to retain trained drivers
or reduce driver "turnover." And as
driver pay goes up, so will freight rates.
"As pay goes up, drivers will probably get 'stickier,'" Mr. Klemp said,
suggesting turnover will decline as
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