A panel discussion Feb. 24 at the National Watermelon Association's annual convention included tips on making life easier on shippers during a shortage of truck drivers. ( Photo courtesy Allen Lund Co. )

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 He said they’re outdated and don’t reflect the modern challenges of truck drivers.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.

Submitted by Jeffery Moore on Thu, 03/08/2018 - 10:51

Your headline for this article is disappointing and does not reflect accurately what folks are saying. Those experts are stating to be driver friendly across all aspects of the supply chain at all times. To reflect that these folks are saying to only do this during the truck shortage is misleading and offensive.

Submitted by Steve webster on Sun, 04/01/2018 - 10:14

I got my truck along with many others from a Wal-Mart lot after making a delivery. We need to be able to delivery early and park on lot or reschedule delivery times without the fines some companies now have
I drive truck in the winter months I own my own truck and reefer trailers .In the past 4 years could make more money letting my reefer sit and doing construction in the summer months. This year might be different 716 800 5814

In reply to by Jeffery Moore (not verified)