The State of Freight: New ELD Mandate - Unishippers

What’s an ELD? Is it an obscure progressive rock band? A snazzy new type of TV? A tasty fast food menu item? If you answered, “Electronic Logging Device” you’re a savvy freight insider!

As a valued Unishippers customer, we want you to be as informed as possible about changes to the freight industry. With the government mandate that recently went into effect regarding ELDs, it’s important to understand the facts about these devices and the effects ELDs could have on your business shipping.

We’ve put together a handy FAQ to guide you through the new ELD mandate. By the end of this article, you’ll be an ELD PhD!

What are ELDs?
An Electronic Logging Device is a piece of hardware that connects to a truck’s engine. The ELD monitors and automatically logs the hours of service the truck is putting in. There’s no need for the driver to log in to activate the device, as it recognizes the difference between “driving ” and “on-duty, not driving” and updates the driver’s status.

Why are ELDs being installed on trucks?
The FMCSA has mandated that all commercial motor truck vehicles must operate with installed ELDs as of December 18 of last year. The purpose of these devices is to prevent truck drivers from working too many consecutive hours. With an ELD device installed in his or her truck, a driver is only allowed to operate for 14 consecutive hours before taking a mandatory 10-hour break. These enforced breaks are for drivers’ health as well as the safety of both the driver and others on the road. The ELD does not take control of the truck but rather allows drivers and dispatchers to know how much driving time is left each day for each driver, leading to smarter and more strategic dispatching decisions.

What will the ELD mandate do to the freight industry?
While the ELD mandate is definitely a win for safety and driver health, it also has consequences for the shipping industry. Because drivers will no longer spend as much time on the road, total truckload freight capacity is going to tighten by a small but significant amount. This reduced capacity could potentially lead to an increase in delayed shipments and missed pickups as well as an uptick in rates due to lower numbers of available trucks and drivers.

As a Unishippers customer, am I exempt from these delays and higher charges?
Providing the best possible value for your shipping dollar is our top priority. And while Unishippers’ customers are not exempt from these potential issues, there are several ways we can help mitigate the impacts to your business.

Because of our fantastic relationships with our carefully vetted freight carrier partners, Unishippers is able to use its buying power to negotiate a level of pricing protection when rate increases come through. While our customers won’t be completely exempt from ELD-associated rate hikes, the increase they see will be substantially lower than it would be for non-Unishippers customers.

Additionally, as a Unishippers customer you have instant access to a higher level of freight capacity. As one of the largest buyers of LTL freight in the country, our industry presence means you’ll have more options to manage the potential impacts of delays, missed pickups and other issues associated with the ELD mandate.

What should I do if I still have questions about the mandate?
The team of shipping pros at your Unishippers office has your back. Reach out to them anytime with questions or concerns related to the new ELD mandate.