Shippers

3PLCarrier ManagerIndustry NewsShippersThird-Party Logistics

By Erik Jensen, CTB If you’ve worked in the transportation industry long enough, chances are you have participated in many RFPs (request for proposals).  If not, I’ll do my best to explain one quickly. Typically, a customer sends out a list of lanes and the number of times they expect these lanes to ship during a specified time-period. Our job is to give our customers rates we can hold for this particular time-frame along with committed capacity. Sounds simple enough, right? Not so fast… In an ideal world where the market stays the same and fuel prices never change—which is relatively close to what we’ve seen over the past couple years--this can be accomplished somewhat easily. Rates would stay the same and nothing would ever change. But with events like hurricanes occurring and mandatory ELD Implementation dates approaching, this creates a level of uncertainty. To be quite honest, there might not ever be a more difficult time to participate in an RFP than now. Carriers that have implemented ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) have stated we can expect a 4-7% reduction in fleet utilization as they learn to operate under the new technology, and some industry experts think that number might be too low. Many carriers are waiting until the last second possible to install these devices. Some of these carriers, for all intents and purposes, would rather just hang up the spikes than install ELDs, while another group of carriers that have actively been “fudging” their logbooks will be put out-of-service for a short period of time and might not have the resources to get back in the game. It’s safe to say that capacity will be harder to come by in 2018 and beyond—which means higher rates. Some industry experts expect rates to increase by at least 10%, and possibly even more. But then again, who really knows?  We can only predict what we’re going to see based on extensive conversations with carriers and our knowledge of the industry. What we can predict with ALMOST 100% certainty is that rates will increase and capacity will decrease, your guess is as good as mine for how long though....
Industry NewsShippersTransportation

The ELD Mandate The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is now in effect, and it’s time to start getting prepared for the changes that will come along with it. The mandate is specifically directed towards carriers, but shippers and consignees will also be affected. While the implementation of ELDs does present potential benefits to shippers, there will also be special issues that will need to be on shippers’ radars in the near future. Ways Shippers Can Stay Ahead of the ELD Game We recently put together a white paper that gives a brief introduction of the mandate, exemptions, how the rule can potentially impact shippers, and what to keep in mind as the rules moves forward. Specifically, shippers are going to need to start preparing and evaluating their own organizations and processes to see how they too can begin adapting to the new mandate. Here are just a few ways shippers can get started: Plan Ahead The transportation industry already presents plenty of challenges to shippers, such as potential capacity crunches, bad weather, closings for holidays, and so forth. Implementation of ELDs is going to add another layer to these challenges. Planning is going to become even more crucial for shippers that require specialty services such as expedited trips, long hauls, job site deliveries, and so forth. Evaluate Dock Space and Storage/Warehouse Options Take steps to understand how your docks are currently using space to stage product. Can staging be condensed in order to prepare more loads and therefore load trucks more quickly? Is there another space available to stage product before it is transferred to the dock for loading. If you are shipping product that is need to go directly into production, look into storage and warehousing options to prevent halts in production due to drivers who are detained at the shipper or are unable to deliver before they are required to take a break. Evaluate Loading/Unloading Processes As mentioned previously, detention is going to be even more of a hot-button issue for drivers with ELDs. How can your loading and unloading processes be streamlined? Are there steps that can be fixed and/or eliminated to reduce the possibility of detention? Adapt Your Own Trucks Early Even though the mandate is still two years from the implementation deadline, many small steps need to be taken that will require investments of research, time, and money (e.g. device decisions, registration, installation, training, driver turnover). For more information and resources about the mandate, download the full ELD White paper here. Have a topic or suggestion for a blog post you'd like to see? Let us know! Email us - blog@amtransportonline.com...