Regulatory onslaught to shrink capacity, spur rate increase, economist says

eobr electronic logThe regulatory bottleneck heading toward the trucking industry in 2014 — and partly already in effect, headlined by the hours-of-service rule changes that went into effect July 1 — will further shrink the driver pool and the industry’s capacity and could lead to a 6 percent increase in truckload rates by the second quarter of 2014, said Eric Starks, president of research firm FTR. 

Starks spoke at Ovedrive sister site CCJ‘s Fall Symposium in Scottsdale, Ariz., this week, where he told an audience of fleet executives that some estimates show that fleets will need to hire an additional 1.5 million drivers to maintain current productivity levels, due to regulatory changes that loom. 

He pointed to tightening emissions regulations in California, federal greenhouse gas and mpg regulations, electronic logging device mandate, speed limiter requirements and the already-underway hours-of-service changes as a concentration of regulations that will be what he called “game-changers” for the industry.

Starks said his estimates show that fleets will need 150,000 to 200,000 additional drivers to maintain current productivity in the coming years, and the regulations will create a tough environment for smaller fleets and create barriers for newcomers to the industry. 

The 6 percent increase in truckload rates “is a good number,” Starks said,” but not as dramatic as the initial data suggests” due to a rate drop this summer. CCJ has a full write-up on Starks speech — Click here to read it.

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