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What do the proposed 2020 HOS changes mean for the trucking market?

On August 14, 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released the long awaited draft rule updating certain parts of the hours of service (HOS) rules. Read more to learn about the proposed changes.  

What are the proposed HOS changes?

In summary, the changes proposed include (per the American Trucking Association):

Split sleeper berth

  • 7/3 hour splits would be permissible (current requirement is one continuous 10 hour break with limited opportunities to split into 9/1 and 8/2)
  • Potential for 6/4 split

30-minute rest break

  • The break will be required after eight hours of driving time (as compared to eight hours after coming on duty)
  • The break will be allowed while on-duty, not driving (as compared to being completely off-duty)

Adverse driving conditions

  • On-Duty time can be extended to accommodate two additional hours of driving when encountering adverse conditions

Short-hauls

  • Short haul CDL drivers will be able to operate within a 150 air-mile radius and up to 14 hours (as compared to 100 air miles and 12 hours) without needing to track hours with an electronic logging device (ELD).

14-hour clock

  • A driver will be allowed to “pause” their 14-hour on-duty clock once, for up to three hours during their duty day. This would allow drivers to better plan routes that avoid rush hour traffic or accommodate longer loading times without sacrificing drive time.

When will changes go into effect?

While these changes are a top priority for the FMCSA, we will likely need to wait an additional four to nine months before they issue a final rule.

After that, there will be an implementation time in coordination with ELD providers. Realistically, this change could go in effect as early as January 2020. But the likely timeframe we can expect to see changes is April-July 2020.

Who will be most impacted by the HOS changes?

While the entire market would be impacted by these changes, the dray market could feel the greatest impact. The proposal to extend the short haul exemption by 50 miles and 2 hours per day is likely to result in meaningful per day increases in productivity for dray carriers.

How will the proposed changes affect shippers?

These proposed HOS changes are one of the most aggressive moves to add flexibility in the trucking industry in almost 15 years.

If these changes remain, we could potentially see an increase in available capacity through regulatory change.

Things to keep in mind

Everyone should be reminded this is not the final rule and the details can change. When the comment period closes, there will be lots of anticipation regarding what part of this draft proposal remains intact and which parts may get modified. There also could be court challenges following any final rule that is issued.

Regardless of when the final rule gets implemented, it is clear that the intention of the FMCSA is to provide more flexibility to a driver’s day.

If you would like more information or have questions about the impact on your freight, connect with a C.H. Robinson expert today.

- Director, Government Affairs- C.H. Robinson

How to Use Mobile Apps to Improve Driver Experiences and Grow Your Business

Because 2018 was a strong year for carriers in the United States, it fueled an ongoing need for more drivers. In fact, The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index identified 2018 as having the “strongest truckload pricing achieved since deregulation.” This strong demand for truckload capacity, coupled with not enough carriers to meet that demand, led many carriers to seek new solutions and technology—like mobile apps—to help grow their business.

Carrier using Navisphere technology to grow his business

It’s difficult to know what’s on the horizon. Forecasts for 2019 are still hazy. Analysts aren’t sure if the difference between supply and demand will persist throughout the year, which can make planning for your business a challenge. I expect the most successful carriers in 2019 and the years beyond will begin to focus on creating quality driver experiences. Here’s why.

A new focus on driver quality of life

Until recently, focusing on a driver’s quality of life wasn’t often a high priority for carriers or shippers. Now it’s a sign of a quality company poised to succeed.

Historically in this industry, trucks and profit margins have led transportation and supply chain planning. Issues specifically affecting drivers, such as electronic logging devices, shifted some attention toward driver retention, but now, driver frustrations like detention and dwell times—and the lack of respect for truck drivers—are taking center stage.

Instead of putting up with these frustrating issues, smart carriers are collaborating closely with shippers and third party logistics providers (3PLs) to quickly resolve these challenges. I expect this to really change the way carriers and the rest of the industry will operate in the coming years.

Many shippers and 3PLs are already getting on board with this shift. For example, here at C.H. Robinson, we have ongoing efforts to help carriers and drivers reduce routing waste, get respect from shippers, and plan more effectively at a strategic level.

We’re powering these initiatives through data—we collect and analyze information on 120,000 shippers to match premier carriers with collaborative shippers. Together, this combination of data and experience improves carrier efficiency and profitability.

Mobile apps are changing the business

Another change to the marketplace that improves driver experiences has been the rise of mobile freight apps. These apps make it simple for carriers to find and book loads, which makes it easier for drivers to know where they will be—and more importantly, when they’ll be home.

However, because moving freight is so complex, standalone digital freight brokers’ capabilities are still relatively limited in today’s trucking market. Developing freight matching applications that drive profits while keeping costs low requires data, scale, and a deep understanding of the intricacies of freight transport—something only well-established organizations can accomplish.

That’s why we’ve invested in our carrier and driver mobile apps for years and will continue to do so in 2019.

Navisphere® Carrier provides everything owner operators and small carriers need to manage their business while on the road. With this app, carriers can easily find the freight they want, when they want it. And we designed Navisphere® Driver specifically for the needs of fleet drivers, providing automatic status updates throughout the life of a load. Both apps let users upload documents from the road and issue invoices automatically, facilitating perhaps the most important feature of the apps: faster payment processing.

I’ve heard consistently from both carriers and drivers that these kinds of apps are helping them easily and flexibly find, book, and report loads. In 2019, I expect increased emphasis on these types of apps as an easy way to accelerate business growth because they help automate carriers’ and drivers’ most time-consuming tasks.

Technology’s role will only increase

No one can say for sure what 2019 might hold, but as the industry continues to change, I’ll continue to be thinking about the tools carriers and drivers need to streamline and grow their businesses.

As quality driver experiences becoming more and more central, I’m excited to see how technology will continue to improve the industry. Reach out to your C.H. Robinson carrier representative to start that conversation today.

Learn more about our carrier technologies or download Navisphere Carrier from the app store today.

The Secret to Cutting Costs for Small Carriers

Every business has expenses. And in today’s market, if you’re like most, you’re looking for ways to cut costs wherever possible. After all, lower costs often mean higher profitability. For small trucking companies, cutting costs may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

Understanding which costs to cut

When looking for areas to reduce expenses you first need to know which expenses to focus on. Each month your business—no matter its size—has two types of costs, fixed and variable. drive down small carrier costs

Your fixed costs (think rent, insurance, permits, cell phone bills, etc.) don’t change a lot from month to month. The other type, variable costs, includes things like fuel, lodging, meals, and repairs. Variable costs are fluid and will shift (sometimes drastically) from one month to the next depending on your business in that time.

While you might be able to get a better deal for some of your fixed costs, focusing your cost reduction efforts on variable costs will likely mean greater results.

Easy cost reduction strategies to get started

Cutting variable expenses starts with small changes in various areas of your business. The order is up to you, but I suggest incorporating one change before moving on to the next.

Fuel efficiency and driving behavior

Because fuel is such a large expense for most trucking companies, it makes sense to find ways to save on fuel whenever possible. A lot of driver behavior can affect fuel efficiency. Speeding can use more fuel, while reducing idling can save it.

Maintenance rather than repair

Trucks are complex machines. A lot can go wrong if they’re not properly maintained. And normally such repairs are costly. While it may seem counterintuitive to spend money maintaining your equipment, it can actually save on repair costs down the road.

Emphasize safety always

Promoting safety not only saves money, it can save lives. The cost of an accident can add up quickly, especially if there are injuries. Safety education—from winter driving techniques to ways to avoid back injuries—goes a long way in reducing high accident, citation, and insurance expenses.

Food and lodging budget

Eating and sleeping on the road can add up quickly, not to mention rough on drivers’ health. Some drivers add a refrigerator and/or a bed to their cab to help cut down on these kind of expenses. If that’s not feasible, setting a budget and sticking to it can also help.

Tracking your cost reduction progress

You can change many areas of your business, but the only way you’ll know if your cost reduction efforts are successful is if you have an accounting process to clearly show you the results of your actions. I believe an accounting system is the critical piece to small carrier profitability, and one area that drivers often overlook.

Define your own system

Whatever method of accounting you choose—software, an accountant, or some combination—make sure you choose an option that’s easy, simple, and maintainable. I often recommend developing a process of sorting receipts when you get them and then processing them on a monthly basis.

Working with a 3PL can also help streamline your accounting process. C.H. Robinson makes the accounts payable process fast and easy so you can seamlessly incorporate it into your overarching accounting strategy.

Run your business by the numbers

Most importantly, your accounting system must be powerful enough to offer reports so you can use your information to find areas to improve. After all, in order to achieve better results to you need to take better actions.

Carrier Spotlight 2018: Agristar, LLC.

Sometimes you just connect with people. It’s as simple as having a conversation on the phone and immediately you know that you just “click” with the other person. That’s exactly what happened when Ray Kaczar of Agristar, LLC., called into C.H. Robinson a year and a half ago.
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- Carrier Account Manager, C.H. Robinson

Key Carrier Spotlight: T Y A Truckn

Key Carrier Spotlight: T Y A Truckn | The Road

For the past few months, we’ve introduced you to each of our Key Carrier of the Year winners and shared a little bit about what makes them unique within the trucking industry. Our final winner in the owner/operator category is Billy Reece of T Y A Truckn, who’s dedicated nearly half a century to getting freight where it needs to go.
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