“It’s still a money game,” he said.
“Whether you’re in trucking or any business, when you need something, you’re going to have to pay more for it. You’re going to see higher rates, carriers fighting for what’s left of the labor pool — and how do you attract the labor pool? You do that by increased wages and better benefits than the guy they’re currently working.”
How high will rates climb?
“I think it’s going to be closer to 30% because there are still a lot of guys out there that are good drivers but that push the envelope and maybe don’t operate within their exact hours of service that they’re going to be forced to when all this gets enacted,” Nelson said.
Nelson figured rates could rise 15% if 10% of drivers are lost to the rules.
“If we lose 30%, then that rate increase will probably be higher,” he said.
On the other hand, the industry might see more team drivers, said Mauro Moreno, owner of Nogales-based truck brokerage Aviva International LLC.
“A couple of years ago, there used to be a lot of teams and we had a five- or six-year gap when there wasn’t a lot of teams,” he said. “Now, they’re coming back.”
There also might be another side to the rule changes, where the number of qualified drivers is concerned, Moreno said.
“From 2007 to today, I heard, 70% of men have lost their jobs,” he said.
“What do they do? They look for jobs with availability, so they’re saying there’s jobs in trucking, so there’s an option. It’s a benefit to trucking.”