Shipping logistics seem like they’re on the verge of a revolution. Drone delivery and self-driving trucks are the wave of the future, even if it’s not always clear how the industry will get there. It takes a lot of insight, planning and good old-fashioned hard work to deploy a drone delivery system, and the world of driverless trucks is still in its infancy. What seemed like science fiction a decade ago is fast becoming the headlines of today, and it is an exciting time as many companies work to shape and predict what the future will bring.
Craft brewing has quickly grown from a cottage industry to a multimillion-dollar commerce segment that seems poised to bring down, or at least challenge, the giants in a well-established market. Brewers spring up all the time, and the Brewers Association notes that most Americans find themselves living within 10 miles of a craft brewer. That’s fairly amazing when you consider that just six years ago, in 2012, two companies produced 90 percent of America’s beer.
When it comes to online shopping vs. in store shopping, brick and mortar retail is experiencing a wave of disruption. To many onlookers, the wave looks like it may send brick and mortar into a tailspin, maybe even a panic, maybe even an endgame. When it comes to online shopping vs. traditional shopping, the marketplace is undergoing a transfiguration the extent of which we haven’t witnessed until now.
This is the first section of a two-part blog post on the ELD mandate and its effects on the transportation industry. Recently the FMCSA rolled out the nationwide ELD mandate for commercial carriers and transporters. There are many questions and concerns on how this will affect the nation’s supply chains. Will it increase transit times? Will it decrease the amount of available equipment? Will it increase the cost of transporting freight? Will I make less money as a carrier or driver? Are these the right questions to be asking? The only correct answer is that these are all valid questions surrounding the recent introduction of the ELD mandate. As with most mandates, you’re not going to make everyone happy, and only you can decide which side of the fence you’re on. However, in order to make that decision you have to ask yourself if you understand it fully? I’ll do my best to explain the mandate without being too lengthy or adding bias (at least in this portion) in order to help guide your decision. 1) What is an ELD? ELD stands for Electronic Logging Device. It is a small onboard computer added to the cab or instrument panel of a tractor or truck that collects data. There have been several variations of these type of devices over the years, dating as far back as the 1980s. They are known as AOBRD (Automatic On-Board Recording Device), and EOBR (Electronic On-Board Recorder), but these will eventually be phased out over the next 2 years and all carriers will be required to use an ELD. 2) What does it do? The typical device is a monitoring tool that ties together three main components of data about from the truck. The first is that it monitors the truck’s movements through a GPS signal. The second is that it records engine data, such as running time and speed. The third and final component is the driver entry piece, this is where he or she will log trip details and notes. Every device manufacturer offers different features on their particular, some more than others, but ultimately these are the 3 required features from the FMCSA to be considered compliant. 3) How is it monitored and regulated? The data is captured and combined into a report that can be extracted and audited by local, state, and federal authorities to ensure the driver is staying within the legal limits of driver time and operation. The report is generated in a digital format or printed copy. If the carrier is is found without an approved ELD in the truck or the ELD shows the driver is in violation of the legal operating hours it will result in fines, shutdowns, and even CDL/authority suspension or revocation depending on the degree of the violation. There are a handful of exceptions where ELD monitoring is not required, the most common two are personal conveyance moves (PCM) and yard moves. A PCM basically means driving back and forth between home and the carrier’s terminal or office, and yard moves are basically the movement of equipment on or in areas that are restricted or considered private property and must be clearly marked with signs. Both of these exceptions have limitations and more specific language as to their definition, so make sure you do your research if you feel these may apply to your situation. 4) Why is this happening? The ELD mandate is a congressionally mandated rule as part the MAP 21 Act that was signed into law in 2012. The ELD mandate itself was put into place to create a safer work environment for drivers and reducing unsafe driving practices. The previous methods, which were mainly done through manually written log books, were fraught with fraud and manipulation. Introducing the ELD created a better and more accurate way to collect, monitor, and share data, without the risk of tampering from individuals. 5) What is the timeline surrounding the mandate? There are two important dates surrounding the mandate. The first was December 18, 2017, this signaled the beginning date of compliance, meaning it is now required to have an ELD device installed and activated on the truck. However, the violations will only result in fines. The second and more critical date is April 1, 2018, and the reason is that any carrier found without an approved ELD and functioning ELD on board will be shutdown until one can be installed and working. I felt these are the five most important categories to address when trying to explain the ELD Mandate, but there are many levels to this mandate to consider which I did not address. If you want to learn more about the both the ELD Mandate and MAP 21 we encourage you to click the links below: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/ I’ll discuss some of the further implications of these changes from a freight broker’s perspective in a subsequent blog post next week.
In the shipping world, few things are more frustrating than your shipment being delayed. You’ve either got an angry customer yelling in your ear, or your company’s production is being held up because of a part that has yet to arrive. Either way, for lack of a better word, it sucks. But the first step to easing frustration is understanding the underlying problem behind LTL freight delays and knowing what to expect moving forward. When shipping LTL, delays can happen for a number of reasons and every scenario is unique. However, there are commonalities across the industry. It would take much too long to address every cause for delay in this post, but we’ll tackle the most common reasons freight isn’t delivered on time! Weather: Although weather related LTL freight delays, like all delays, are frustrating, these are the most easily explained and understood. Like the recent catastrophes of Hurricanes Harvey & Irma, natural disasters can wreak havoc regionally, but also have nationwide effects on when you receive your freight. When terminals are shut down because of weather, operations come to a screeching halt. Freight piles up and can cause delays for months after the actual event. Since freight is handled on a first-in, first-out basis, it’s often just a waiting game. High Freight Volumes: This is a term that gets tossed around a lot. With larger carriers, most of their freight goes through large hubs around the country. For R&L, this might be Wilmington, Ohio, where their headquarters is located. For Central Transport, this is often Chicago, Illinois, where they’re based out of. Though the location of these hubs vary, they all have one thing in common: so much freight passes through there on a daily basis that they can’t move it as fast as it comes in. So their solution is to load this freight on trucks in the order they arrived to the terminal in question, this can cause LTL freight delays. Delivery Appointments: If any shipment has a delivery appointment service added, this always adds at least one day onto the estimated transit time. The reason for this is that the appointment clerk at the terminal won’t schedule appointments with the consignee until they confirm that the freight is actually, physically at the destination terminal. In some cases, like when freight is delivering to a residence, appointments are always required. Although a delayed shipment is never not frustrating, we at FreightPros are always striving to make your lives easier. Our team runs a Delivery Report daily to check on shipments that are running late and follow-up with carriers to see why. We then do everything in our power to get shipments delivered as quickly as possible! Our goal is to provide a quality freight experience, and education is the first step to achieving that!