Hours of Service Changes Affect Shipping

There has recently been a ruling by the Department of Transportation (DOT) that changed the Hours of Service laws for commercial truck driving in America. While this law was implemented in 2012, trucking companies must be compliant by July 2013 and many companies are not yet ready for the change over. The expectation is that they will wait until the last minute since there are still lawmakers attempting to reverse the ruling.

So why are people in the shipping industry so concerned about trucking hours? Allowing longer amounts of hours for truck drivers meant that drivers could arrive at their destination faster. When the DOT lowered the amount of hours a driver can be on the roads without a break, it meant that the longer hauls like a mini land bridge would either take longer or would require two drivers in order to make the same time. Two drivers means higher freight rates and with the driver shortage as it is, this can be a much more costly way to move cargo across the US.

There are very few alternatives to trucking when dealing with domestic logistics, especially for longer hauls. Rail services can have lengthy transit times and all water vessels are even longer from Asia to the US East coast so the options are not practical in many cases. Without a reversal of the new laws, trucking companies and logistics providers across the nation will be struggling to make money without losing their customers. The trucking industry is already dealing with other increased costs in 2013, including the rises price of diesel fuel. Hopefully trucking companies can manage through these changes and continue to provide excellent services to customers nationwide.