Scott Masingill, western sales manager for Prime Incorporated in Boise, ID, recently shared his insights concerning 2017 truck freight with us, starting with a look back at the 2016 holiday season and also discussing new regulations.
The 2016 holiday season, like most, presented challenges with increased demand and limited availability because many truckers like to get home for the holidays, he said. Scott added that throughout December and coming into the new year, weather has been an issue for both inbound and outbound freight in the Pacific Northwest. However, he said, the balance of the shipping season should open up, with trucks easier to find.
On over all freight availability for 2017, he said providing trucking services means getting good drivers, and he noted, “Prime, Inc. has a wonderful internal mentoring program for hiring and providing comprehensive training for drivers.”
The trucking industry has benefited from the slowdown with the North Dakota oil fields – more drivers are coming to the onion industry and to other freight transportation sections. But Scott cautioned, “Freight availability has a lot to do with the economy. If the oil fields pick up again or if there is a spike in the economy, the drivers are going to go where the money is.”
And change is headed our way in December 2017, at which time all drivers will be required to use electronic logs. “This change may decrease capacity, and drivers that have been accustomed to using paper logs will now have to change the way they drive.”
Those in the onion industry specifically are “going to have to change the way they do business and get into the 21st century. They are going to have to cut down their shipping and receiving delays drastically, because when the regulations go into effect, shippers will have to start paying drivers for any detention and delays on their part.”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration posted an update regarding the regulations at its site on Dec. 22. That post can be accessed at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices. Another post at Trucks.com’s site, https://www.trucks.com/2016/11/29/electronic-logging-devices-truckers-switch/ , also looks at the issue and cites safety projections, as does a similar overview at JusticeNewsFlash.com’s site, http://www.justicenewsflash.com/2016/12/29/the-effectiveness-of-driver-rest-regulations-in-lowering-number-of-accidents_20161229136905.html.
Shippers should start preparing for the change, because the impact in the next 18 months “could potentially be huge,” he said.