Podcast: Cold water on the ELD mandate’s potential rates impacts

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Updated May 15, 2017

Owner-operators’ view on the potential positive/negative rates effect of the ELD mandate

As shown in the above poll results, most owner-operator readers of Overdrive view the potential rates effect of the FMCSA’s electronic logging device mandate coming into effect at the end of the year — provided efforts against the mandate don’t derail it, from OOIDA’s petition to the Supreme Court for reconsideration or other individual efforts (Scott Reed, who visited the Capitol again this week, comes to mind, of course) — as a likely reality in the positive for truckers.

OOIDA board member and B.L. Reever Transport small fleet owner Monte Wiederhold might be among the fifth of owners who see the potential for a brief rate bump, but don’t count him among the true believers, those like Todd Amen of ATBS who have prognosticated a more long-term rates rise.

Hear the range of Wiederhold’s thoughts on the subject in the podcast players above and below. His arguments track along two main routes:
1) While talking enough about a big ELD effect on productivity may eventuate in something of a self-fulfilling prophecy in contract negotiations between large carriers and their shipper customers, the same won’t be as simple for smaller carriers, who don’t often have a whole lot of leverage beyond providing excellent service with customers to begin with.
2) The fickle nature of the spot market for freight (and brokered loads in general), meanwhile, is more likely to quickly adjust to the new reality than experience any sort of long-term improvement.

In short, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” Wiederhold says, referencing similar talk of a large rate rise going back to the CDL’s implementation in the 1990s, the national registry of medical examiners a few years ago and more, none of which materially changed much of anything when it comes to the economics of freight, he concludes.

One can remain cautiously optimistic, however, as it seems many owner-operators are doing. Where do you stand? If you haven’t yet voted in the poll (results above as of May 12, mid-afternoon) here’s the link.

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