As a result, Lund said he is working with the United Fresh Produce Association to put together an industry task force to try to address the issue.
The revised national hours of service regulation, expected to become effective July 1, would increase the amount of rest truck drivers would be required to take in many cases, said Steve Lohman, North American transportation manager for Chiquita Fresh North America, Charlotte, S.C.
Drivers who have put in 60 hours during seven consecutive days or 70 hours during eight consecutive days would be required to take off 34 consecutive hours before hitting the road again.
But those 34 hours now will have to include two periods between 1-5 a.m. — something that didn’t used to be required.
If a driver finishes in the morning, the rest period could extend to as long as 51 hours before he could legally climb behind the wheel again.
But if the driver doesn’t come off duty until the evening, the period could be as short as 34 hours.
In the case of Chiquita, Lohman said about 80% of the loads are picked up or delivered during the morning.
Lohman said he’d heard industry estimates the new rest provisions could extend overall trucking times by up to 10%. So he examined Chiquita Express’ routes, which included 48,000 loads last year, and found the impact would be about 12.5%.
The impact most likely will be felt more by long-haul routes, where drivers routinely max out allowable time on the road, Lohman said.
Although it’s too early to tell what impacts the revision will have, he said it could possibly cause freight rates to increase.
“It could mean more trucks and more drivers to move the same amount of freight,” he said.
This rule comes on top of existing driver shortages.
Lohman suggested working with your carriers to forecast your freight needs, which will help reduce spot-market capacity needs.
He also recommended making long-term commitments with carriers and exploring ways to consolidate loads with nearby shippers with similar loads and markets.