When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revised the hours of service provision to include two consecutive breaks between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5.am., reducing a driver’s work week from 82 to 70 hours and becoming effective July 1, 2013, it prompted many debates.
Last week, fifteen industry groups decided to fight back, filing a suit against the ruling. These group include the American Bakers Association, Food Marketing Institute, Intermodal Association of North America, International Food Distributors Association, NASSTRAC, National Association of Manufacturers, National Chicken Council, National Grocers Association, National Private Truck Council, National Retail Federation, National Turkey Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Snack Food Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.
Among the problems the groups are arguing the provision would result in include higher costs, the reduction of safety on the road, and lead to economic harm for agriculture, manufacturers, and retail supply chains and distributors.
As National Grocers Association President Peter Larkin states, “The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration clearly failed to take into account critical information such as costs on the entire supply chain that NGA and others provided in public comments.” 1
One of these costs reflects back on food manufacturers who need to deliver their products while they are fresh to their customers. A delayed shipment can mean the difference between an accepted load and one that needs to be destroyed.
“It is the retail industry’s responsibility to get products to market and into consumers’ hands in a safe and timely manner. It is a responsibility that we hold dear. Any new regulation that impedes that ability increases our transportation costs, increases consumer prices and jeopardizes the fragile economic recovery,” the National Retail Federation notes. 2
And with a driver’s work week being reduced, carriers need to recruit additional drivers in an already tight driver pool, to account for lost time on the road. Joni Casey, Intermodal Association of North America President, explains, “The 34-hour restart change is particularly problematic as it will reduce a driver’s present work week and impede the scheduling flexibility necessary to service…a negative impact that affects one will likely have a ripple effect across the entire supply chain.” 3
In fact, the Food Marketing Institute predicts that their transportation costs would increase between 10% and 20%, and therefore, trickle this increase down to the retail level. 1
The National Grocers Association adds that the restart provision would “add tens of thousands and in some cases millions in new costs on wholesale operations,” not to mention add congestion to the road, increasing safety concerns. 1
With the increasing number of groups stressing their concerns over the FMCSA’s hours of service, we are providing some tips to help you prevent scheduling dilemmas.
*Stop bidding out your business year over year. No one gets used to the “players.” Instead, establish and grow your relationship with a specific carrier(s).
*With that being said, work hand-in-hand with carriers to schedule routine shipments. If a carrier knows that a particular lane will run a specific time each week or month, they can schedule backhaul, cutting back on costs for both the carrier and shipper.
*If you do not have a load that ships on a specific time of week/month, it is best to plan your lanes ahead of time. Giving carriers a day or more notice can help them position their equipment efficiently.
*It is also beneficial to add additional carriers in cases where your primary carriers do not have the availability.
What changes do see the FMCSA’s HOS provision as having on the entire supply chain? Are you involved with any of the organizations filing suit? We would like to hear your comments below.
Tags: American Bakers Association, carrier, federal motor carrier safety administration, Food Marketing Institute, Intermodal Association of North America, International Food Distributors Association, NASSTRAC, National Association of Manufacturers, National Chicken Council, National Grocers Association, National Private Truck Council, National Retail Federation, National Turkey Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, road scholar transport, Snack Food Association, trucking industry, trucking news, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association