Dec. 18th 2017 the trucking industry shifts for the better.


December 18th is now in sight! It’s no longer a distant date in the future that we can put off thinking about. The ELD mandate has brought a lot of anxiety to truckers around the country and understandably so. It is a big deal and it is happening soon.
Companies big and small brace for the December deadline, dreading over the expected loss of productivity and decreased bottom lines. There are a number of challenges associated with the switch to electronic logs. Equipment costs, driver and dispatcher training as well as problems surrounding meeting and managing customer expectations.
Many fleets are scrambling to make and implement these changes while others are still holding out in hopes for a last moment miracle. Lots of truckers we spoke to are planning to play it by ear. They intend to stay on paper logs until the very last moment and then lay low over the holidays to see how things go next year.
There is a myriad of articles in print and online detailing the regulations and how to stay compliant. We will not be discussing these here. Logiflex has been utilizing the latest in ELD technology for the past 5 years and we would like to use our expertise to shed light on an issue that is being widely overlooked.
Electronic logs are good. They are good for drivers, good for companies and overall good for the entire industry.
Nothing about the ELD mandate changes the current hours of service regulations. It simply ensures that motor carriers and individual drivers stay compliant and do not cheat. It really is that simple. If you are raising hell about the DOT taking away your livelihood, you are in reality simply being upset you will no longer be allowed to cheat.
Putting an end to paper logs does not hinder drivers from earning good paychecks. It does however prevent unscrupulous employers from exploiting drivers and coercing them to drive beyond the regulated hours of service. Forcing truckers to drive around the clock in order to make up for the “bad rates” imposed by “unfair” freight brokers and customers will come to an end. In recent years, numerous companies have”taught” their drivers they need to drive more in order to earn a decent living. Well, here’s a question — why not drive less and get paid more per mile?
This is where ELDs level the playing field. Drivers will no longer be exploited and expected to deliver freight in record times with minimal or no sleep. When faced with the reality of enforced hours of service regulations, shippers and brokers will naturally adjust rates to address the issue of truckers refusing their freight.
Free markets adjust themselves based on the levels of supply and demand. Trucking companies will be forced to refuse low paying freight as they will find it increasingly harder to fill the revenue gap simply by making it up in volume. More miles will now equal increased overhead in terms of additional equipment and manpower. Rates will have to go up and they will because freight needs to keep moving. Freight brokers and shippers will pay higher rates or they will not move their freight. Even bottom feeder carriers will be unable to provide transportation at rates below cost.
Higher revenues will create the opportunity for motor carriers to increase driver salaries and thus make up the difference in pay they would otherwise experience under “shortened” hours. In essence drivers will greatly benefit by the mandate. They will earn more and drive less.
Critics will undoubtedly offer that employers will not necessarily offer pay increases to their drivers and possibly pocket the extra cash, but those same basic economic principles of supply and demand will be in full play here as well. Drivers will simply leave companies unable or unwilling to offer competitive pay.
When it comes to motor carriers, the benefit of increased rates goes without explanation. There are however further benefits to consider. Decreased rates of equipment amortization will result in considerable fleet savings. Companies will also enjoy lower insurance premiums to reflect increased driver safety scores. Automated and electronically recorded geo-tagged timestamps will prevent detention and layover arguments and expedite loading and unloading times.
Driver performance will be easily calculated, compared and quantified. Seasoned drivers will enjoy better pay and job security, as quality will finally take precedent over quantity.
The trucking industry will indeed change December 18th. It will be safer, smarter and a better place to work.
America is making trucking great again!
Article is written by Mike Ivanov — Vice President of Logiflex Inc.

Trip to Alaska and back in January Part 2

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We’ve told the story from our office’s point of view, about how we send a truck to Alaska in January. But the better story comes from the field and our driver Marc. Here are four takeaways he took from his experience:

  1. Wildlife. Be careful of the wildlife. Not just for the moose crossing the road, or the random bison grazing on the shoulder paying you and your truck no mind whatsoever. There’s more. There are eagles, lynxes, bears, and ravens. The moose generally tend to move out of the roadway. They want nothing to do with you unless they feel threatened, which they won’t allow themselves to be put in a position to be. The bison just get mildly irritated by your air horn. Lynxes are blind to human existence, but also really want nothing to do with you. And then there’s bears. They’re a lot like lynxes. They really just want to get away from you and be left alone. Leave them alone, they leave you alone. Personally, I think bison are the biggest threat. They are everywhere and usually in big herds. They pay no attention to their surroundings and they are just oblivious to human existence, so be careful while driving near them. Always proceed with caution when there’s wildlife near/on the roads.

 

  1. Cellular connections. There’s not much 4G going on up in the Yukon, but if you come across electricity, you’ll probably come across a workable cell signal. Internet signal will be dodgy at best, but a phone signal isn’t impossible. Make sure that your cellular provider can grant you international roaming and be aware of you charges. I have Sprint and while my data was free, (yee freaking haw seeing as how my data sucked) my voice calls were $0.20 a minute. Having said that, you should map out your route with your GPS AND Google maps (or whatever computer based mapping system you like) ahead of time and take screen shots. You won’t have a chance to look at it again once you are out of range. Keep in mind, there really is more out there on the Alaskan Highway than a truck stop guide or app is going to tell you. I’d say that there’s a safe haven every 50-100 miles. That’s just a guess, but that’s better than what you’d find in a guidebook.

 

  1. Funds. Canadian currency has generally been worth far less than US currency for as long as I can remember. (And I was born and raised within 30 miles of the Canadian border.) When we were preparing for this trip, the exchange rate was $1US = $1.36CAN. That’s a pretty substantial exchange rate. Plus, most items in Canada are more expensive than they are in the States. Figure out how much you need on a daily basis and work out a budget for the entire trip through Canada. Also, it’s a good idea to exchange some funds at the Duty Free at the border crossing. Most banks near the border, on either side, will do the same and give you the most current rate of exchange. The Duty Free is just a bit easier.

 

  1. Distractions. If you’ve driven most of the lower 48, you’ve seen some pretty amazing things. The scenery is almost unexplainable. However, there’s a new added variable when driving up the Alaskan Highway and it’s called “isolation”. If you think Iowa is “isolated”, guess what, you’re wrong. If you think west Texas is desolate, guess what, you’re wrong. If you think the drive on I-10, from California to El Paso is boring, guess what, yeah, you got it, you’re wrong. You cannot fully grasp the concept of what it means to be so fully and completely alone and on your own until you’ve driven the Alaskan Highway. It’s not in the middle of nowhere, it IS nowhere. YOU are nowhere.

Regardless of all that, it might just be the most beautiful experience you ever come across in your life.