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Freight Waves | Today’s Pickup: Waiting on the Full ELD Impact

02.07.18 | Brian Straight

According to a survey of participants on a recent FTR webinar, only 11% of the people believe the ELD impact has been severe. A full 52% say the impact has been moderate while 34% say it is minimal. Three percent don’t believe it’s had any effect.”

FTR, which solicited the opinions of those listening on the firm’s January webinar, acknowledged the survey is not scientific, but believes it provides at least a snapshot into the impact ELDs are having.

“The general sense that the impact was moderate certainly seemed to square with hard data,” wrote Avery Vise, vice president of trucking research, for FTR in its January State of Freight bulletin.

Vise cited rising rates and freight indexes near all-time highs as evidence. “Rates were higher than during the normal peak season in June and during the wake of the hurricanes. And this was happening during the automotive industry’s seasonal shutdown, which should have depressed demand,” he wrote.

Vise also said the Polar Vortex likely played a role as well, with refrigerated loads doubling in the first week of 2018 compared to 2017 as some goods normally moved in dry vans needed to be moved in refrigerated trailers due to temperature issues.

He also believes that the biggest impact of ELDs will likely come later as out-of-service orders begin in April and current waivers are either extended or expire.

“Also, not all effects of ELDs on capacity will be felt immediately upon their adoption. Yes, there will be a reduction in miles due to strict compliance, and some drivers and carriers will exit - and surely have exited - the market. But from the perspective of many carriers, the productivity loss won’t necessary be obvious because freight rates are rising. It might take the next downturn for some carriers to feel the pain,” he wrote.

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