NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Sure, revising the trucking hours of service law would give watermelon shippers and truckers some relief, but shippers can do some things now to make transporting their product easier.
Such as being nicer to truckers, said Kenny Lund, vice president of operations for the Allen Lund Co., La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., during a panel discussion at the National Watermelon Association’s annual meeting, Feb. 24 in Nashville.
“There are three things you can do to save you money: 1. Be nice to truckers. 2. Get rid of first-come, first-serve. You have to give truckers a set time. 3. No more fines,” he said.
Lund said the driver shortage is real for a number of reasons, and truck operators will do business with companies that treat them well.
Fellow panelist John Seidl, a consultant at Integrated Risk Solutions, said a driver shortage is just one reason truck prices rose so much late last year and early this year.
He said the electronic logging device law has made it much tougher for drivers to falsify their logs, but there are also many problems with ELD systems that are being sold to drivers and don’t work correctly.
Lund said the economy is stronger and that means more product is being shipped.
“We saw a 17% increase in loads last year,” Lund said.
“The tax package has been very beneficial. It maxed the capacity we had. That plus the ELD raised rates 10, 20, 30%.”
Seidl said the agriculture industry is pushing for an exemption for ELDs, which they should find out March 18.
But Lund said it’s more important to address the hours of service laws rather than ELDs. He said they’re outdated and don’t reflect the modern challenges of truck drivers.
Lund said truck prices have come down from earlier this year, but he predicts prices overall will be about 10% higher than last year.