Truck rates have eased but worries remain about the ELD mandate. ( File photo )

While some trucking leaders continue the push for a rollback of the electronic logging device mandate, a fall in truck rates has eased here-and-now problems for produce buyers and sellers.

There is still a lot of talk about the ELD mandate but rates have calmed, and growers-shippers are taking a business-as-usual approach to finding transportation, said Ken Gilliland, director of international trade and transportation for Western Growers.

One truck broker in Florida, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the March 18 expiration of the exemption for produce haulers from the ELD mandate is expected to cause problems.

“Customers on the receiving end are already saying they can’t get what they want when they want it,” he said. Just this week, he said one truck driver had to use up nearly all his allotted 14 hours operating time waiting to be loaded at three different Florida packinghouses, all within an hour’s driving radius.

With customers not yet willing to pay a premium for multiple picks, the truck broker was finding it hard to hire a truck for anything other than a single pickup and single drop.

 

Falling back

U.S. truck rates have fallen sharply from January highs but remain well above year-ago levels in many districts, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Truck availability was adequate for most regions on Feb. 7, according to the USDA.

Rates from California’s Imperial and Coachella Valleys to New York on Feb. 7 were $7,400 to $7,500, That is down 15% from Jan. 20 numbers, but up more than 20% from the same time a year ago.

John Burton, general manager of sales for Coachella, Calif.-based Peter Rabbit Farms, said he has heard from buyers — who typically arrange trucking — that truck rates have fallen as much as 30% from January highs.
“We get calls from trucking services every day from people looking for business,” he said.

For the Yakima, Wash., region, Feb. 7 truck rates to Dallas of $4,600 to $4,900 were off 20% from Jan. 20 rates and close to the range reported last year at the same time.

In south Florida, the USDA reported rates to Chicago of $2,900 to $3,100 on Feb. 7, similar to Jan. 20 and about 20% above year-ago levels.

 

ELD concerns

Concerns about the ELD mandate and the underlying hours of service issue persist in February, with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association still pushing for a long-term exemption for small trucking business with excellent safety records.

In early February, 25 members of Congress sent a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asking them to support the pending application from the association for the minimum 5-year exemption.

U.S. Reps. Brian Babin, R-Texas, and Steve King, R-Iowa and 23 other lawmakers wrote the letter.

“We thank the representatives, especially Congressmen Babin and King, for recognizing that small-business truckers that have already proven their ability to operate safely should not be subject to purchasing costly, unproven and uncertified devices,” Todd Spencer, acting president and CEO of the independent truckers’ association.

Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, said the ELD mandate was causing several produce associations to come together and see if the ELD mandate could be made smarter for the produce industry.  Jungmeyer said the United Fresh Produce Association’s Supply Chain Logistics Council is leading the coordinated effort.

 

 

 
Comments
Submitted by Steve webster on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:05

The solution is hourly pay for all drivers of least 1.9 times the Fed min wage plus overtime after 10 hours per day and allow Canada's hour of service no shipper or trucking company can be fined for late appointments by companies like walmart and can no longer be allowed to force them to leave before there 10 hours is up .12 years ago Mb and On. Tryed to change drivers working conditions and large companies stopped them.

Submitted by JJ on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 02:53

Elogs are an unconstitutional, invasive tool that should ONLY be forced on companies or drivers who consistently display subpar safety records.
These are most definitely the minority of the trucking industry. Since EVERYONE has known they were coming, any exemptions not applicable to all drivers/ companies who have above par safety records are a joke. Elogs will destroy t he trucking industry and the economy if not repealed soon.

Submitted by JJ on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 02:54

Elogs are an unconstitutional, invasive tool that should ONLY be forced on companies or drivers who consistently display subpar safety records.
These are most definitely the minority of the trucking industry. Since EVERYONE has known they were coming, any exemptions not applicable to all drivers/ companies who have above par safety records are a joke. Elogs will destroy t he trucking industry and the economy if not repealed soon.

Submitted by Eric on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 05:49

In regards to the above mentioned using 14 hours to load 3 pickups, I experienced the same thing last week in Pharr TX area making 2 pickups. By the time I drove the short distance north to the truck stop in Edinburg TX, I had 17 minutes left on my 14.

Submitted by Mike @ VOFSI on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 09:34

Perhaps an ankle bracelet would be more fitting. If costs preclude this, a dog collar would alert the driver of pending doom. This is the finality of the "1984" book by George Orwell. The FMCSA should operate all of their employees under the same regimen and then, perhaps, they would make realistic changes.

Submitted by Mike on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 09:48

Lol even on paper logs if u log correctly ur clock runs out the same the law didnt chamge just how u input.
On eld u have 14 hrs 11 drive on paper u have 14 hrs 11 drive if u cant do the same work on eld u wasnt logging ur real time
And ur mad because u have too now

Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:13

The 14 hour rule is to restrictive especially if you haul produce, get rid of the 14 hour consecutive hours and let the limit worked not total more than 14 hrs by days end and the 8/2 split should be released also I believe that split should be up to a driver's discretion ... At least that works for my situation

Submitted by cutter on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 12:43

if the driver who spent modt if his 14 hrs to load had been on paper logs, and logged LEGAL, he would have been in the same situatiob

Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 13:30

A bunch of dumbasses...go back 2 the 5 on 5off rule an load an unload top line an nobody ever runs out of time. U can work 24.7 an always have time

Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 13:30

A bunch of dumbasses...go back 2 the 5 on 5off rule an load an unload top line an nobody ever runs out of time. U can work 24.7 an always have time

Submitted by Dave on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 13:39

I get a kick hearing from the wealthy scum in Washington DC who really have ZERO knowledge of truck safety. The mandated ELD has now forced trucks to speed 10 to 20 mile an hour faster than they were driving before the ELD'S were forced down the throats of truckers. They now have to cut the days short or lose valuable parking spots most truckers prior to the ELD forced laws would split the days up so they could drive slower use sleeper time when loading or unloading. They are forced to use a mandatory 1/2hr break to fuel on and at that it takes most places over an hour to 1/2 hours to get fuel as most of the foreign driver use the fuel islands for their truck washing or they leave them parked while they shower,eat as they don't care. If the ELD'S are such a safety thing why don't the government force cops, doctors,fireman,fishing boats and pretty much anything that moves to pay for out of their own pockets as they do the one truck companies this is Hilter or Clinton/Obama retirement fund it has nothing to do with SAFETY just money in the pockets of politicians

Submitted by John on Sat, 02/10/2018 - 08:41

That's the best analysis of the ELD thing yet. I also get a kick out of all the "Holier than thou" people who use the "if eld's change the way you're running, you were running illegal" crap. Im sure these saints have never broken a law ever. Never ran not one mph over the speed limit. Never changed lanes or turned without a turn signal. Never drove their car after drinking an ounce of alcohol. But boy oh boy, if you fudge your logbook by an hour, you should be thrown in prison with all the rest of the lawless thugs.

In reply to by Dave (not verified)

Submitted by CHARLES KILGORE on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 16:36

I had to stop my truck because I can't pay for elog computer it hurts my family

Submitted by FRB on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 19:21

Need to get rid of 14 hr rule. Chg to 16. Fine with the 11 hr drive. ELD is making the roads more unsafe because we have tighter window to get everything done in the day.

Submitted by Tim on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 20:04

The American consumer will soon realize higher truck8ng rates = higher product costs. Combine that with fewer drivers and trucks available those that pay will get the deliveries. The American truck driver can out this country on its ass.

Submitted by Dave on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 22:49

I get a kick hearing from the wealthy scum in Washington DC who really have ZERO knowledge of truck safety. The mandated ELD has now forced trucks to speed 10 to 20 mile an hour faster than they were driving before the ELD'S were forced down the throats of truckers. They now have to cut the days short or lose valuable parking spots most truckers prior to the ELD forced laws would split the days up so they could drive slower use sleeper time when loading or unloading. They are forced to use a mandatory 1/2hr break to fuel on and at that it takes most places over an hour to 1/2 hours to get fuel as most of the foreign driver use the fuel islands for their truck washing or they leave them parked while they shower,eat as they don't care. If the ELD'S are such a safety thing why don't the government force cops, doctors,fireman,fishing boats and pretty much anything that moves to pay for out of their own pockets as they do the one truck companies this is Hilter or Clinton/Obama retirement fund it has nothing to do with SAFETY just money in the pockets of politicians

Submitted by TulsaTerry on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 22:55

Driver pay needs to be modified to cents per mile and hourly in the dock. Shipper/receiver pays the hourly incentivizing faster loading/unloading.

Submitted by Ja on Sat, 02/10/2018 - 08:14

The problem with the trucking industry is the rates. They are obviously too low. Trucking companies should be able to charge a rate that will allow them to pay their expenses and make a profit while running within the law. The companies who take freight and haul it at or below cost are the problem.

Submitted by Chad on Mon, 02/12/2018 - 13:11

You guys are blaming eld's when you should be looking at the shippers and receivers they use the trailers as there warehouse and don't care how long you wait to load or unload. They are ones to blame and need to pay for your services to sit there.