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Transport Topics | Intermodal Could Gain From Trickle Down of ELD Mandate

09.29.17 | Ari Ashe

Truckload executives predict business conditions in 2018 will be robust due to the electronic logging device mandate and that intermodal could benefit from a trickle-down effect, they said during the annual Intermodal Association of North America’s Intermodal Expo here.

The federally mandated rule goes into effect Dec. 18, and commercial vehicle inspectors will issue citations to motor carriers operating vehicles without ELDs but won’t place vehicles out of service until April 1.

Some concerned cargo owners have already moved freight to railroads to hedge against over-the-road rate hikes.

“We’ve seen a portion of the impact with shippers moving to higher ground - to carriers they know are ELD compliant,” said Jim Filter, senior vice president of intermodal at Schneider, which is ranked No. 6 on the Transport Topics list of the Top 100 for-hire carriers in North America.

Larry Gross, intermodal expert at FTR, said that ELDs will push asset utilization past 98% in truckload. With fewer available trucks, contract prices will rise. And when they do, the financial incentive to use railroads will increase, Gross said.

“Intermodal will benefit from this, provided that the drayage and port cartage community is also prepared related to ELDs. Even though you have exemptions for a 100-mile length of haul, there is a lot of potential ELD impact on the drayage community,” he said.

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