For ports in the Southeast US the ELD mandate is creating a capacity crunch that threatens to drive trucking rates higher when the full mandate goes into effect in April. Due to our coastal location, containers arrive at our ports and distribute into the entire Southeast, sometimes over great distances. As cargo ships grow and our ports expand to accommodate these behemoths more cargo arrives with each passing sailing. We’ve had record-breaking years as cargo volumes leap at the Port of Virginia and around the country, which adds to the capacity shortages we’re seeing in the trucking market.
Bottlenecks at the ports are becoming more commonplace as truckers can no longer do the same day deliveries of containers as they did before the mandate. Receiving cargo at Norfolk, VA or Charleston, SC and delivering to Alabama, Tennessee or West Virginia was once a single day turn around so truckers could return to pick up new containers, but no more. Weather issues that cause delays via slower speeds and a shortage of drivers in general are driving rates up 7-10% in some areas and impeding profitability on contract agreements that were signed before the mandate was passed.
Some trucking advocacy groups are working hard to lobby for government to rescind parts of the mandate as they claim they’re unable to meet the demands and still keep their trucks on the road. Per American Shipper, “The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has called on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure to “urgently conduct” an oversight hearing on the implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) electronic logging device (ELD) mandate.”
Nelson International remains committed to finding innovative and cost effective solutions to these capacity issues happening in our industry and are working diligently to keep the problems from impacting our clients. If you have any questions or concerns about how the changes apply to your cargo, don’t hesitate to call on your representative and discuss the solutions we have for your needs. We’ll keep watch as the capacity starts to flow after the warmer weather stops plaguing the northern and upper mid-western areas and as always, inform our readers immediately.