We just got back from visiting our trucker friends in Cincinnati, Louisville and Chicago (we meet up with them every quarter). Here’s what they are telling us:
- Chinese New Year backlog: They are finally about done digging out of the backlog of import containers at most ramps due to the high volume of imports caused by Chinese New Year. And they remain very busy.
- Ramps: Remain congested causing delays and extra charges.
- Free time: Most truckers are reducing free time to one hour. They also charge for waiting time at the ramps or will charge a ramp surcharge when they wait over an hour to get a container.
- Electronic Logging Devices and the effect: Truckers are now limited by federal law to drive no more than 11 hours a day within a 14-hour workday. Drivers must then be off duty for 10 consecutive hours. DAT Solutions, tracks freight and rates, truckers and other industry analysts, to learn how the ELD rule is affecting our trucking friends. According to their survey, 67.3 percent of the truckers say they are driving fewer miles since the ELD rule started late last year. So it’s taking trucking companies more drivers to do the same amount of work they did before ELDs.
- Driver supply demands more pay: Drivers are making less pay because of ELDs—less time to work, less money. DAT reports that nearly 71 percent of drivers reported earning less money because they must stop driving after 11 hours.
- As a result, trucking companies are raising driver pay to make of the difference. Furthermore, drivers are demanding higher wages because of the overall driver shortage. If you’re a driver, you can go anywhere and get work.
- New drivers wanted: Trucking companies are having a very difficult time recruiting new drivers. One trucker said he goes to the ramps every week handing out flyers and water bottles promoting his driver jobs. It still doesn’t help much to attract new drivers.
- Reciprocal customer care: Truckers are taking a hard look at customers who make drivers wait to get loaded and unloaded. Many drivers refuse to go back to warehouses that consistently make them wait over an hour.
The bottom line is this: container pickup and delivery rates are going up in 2018. It also needs to be said container truckers are hardworking and care about their customers. Most of them won’t take on new clients. They choose to focus on their current customer base, who they know well, and can service with the current drivers on their team.
To read more about what DAT data found in their research click here.