The new calendar year always brings with it a certain amount of optimism within the trucking industry. That optimism is usually tempered by a number of different things that could influence the direction of our industry. Therefore, trucking companies have to keep an eye on what's coming over the horizon in order to stay ahead of the game. It is something we take very seriously at C.R. England.
As a leading trucker transportation service offering CDL jobs in Utah, California and across the country, we believe we owe it to our current and future drivers to anticipate what the future might bring so that we can ensure they are taken care of. Likewise, this approach is good for our customers too. For 2017, there are three things we will be keeping an especially close eye on.
1. The Future of Electronic Logging
The passage of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century bill in 2012 resulted in a mandate for trucking companies and independent contractors to use electronic logging devices that will eventually take the place of paper logs. All companies and independent contractors have to be in compliance by the end of 2017.
Electronic logging will get another look thanks to legal action by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and their request for a rehearing by the U.S. Court of Appeals. However, a favorable ruling is not anticipated at this time. Therefore, it would be better for companies and independent contractors to assume the court will uphold the mandate.
2. The Change of Drivers Hours Rules
Rule changes instituted in 2013 placed an undue burden on truck drivers in relation to restarts. The thinking back then was that introducing a 34-hour restart requirement would increase overall highway safety by reducing the number of accidents truck drivers are involved in. Thankfully, Congress intervened and required the restart mandate to be put on hold until it could be proven beneficial. That proof has not yet been offered. Furthermore, it looks like the new Congress may get rid of it altogether.
3. Growth in Inventory Levels
The past 12 months have been up and down in terms of the volume of inventory waiting to be moved by the trucking industry. We believe much of that was due to the unusual political arena for 2016. However, things are already looking better for 2017.
Inventory began to grow this past November and December along with the political uncertainty having been put behind us. Unless something drastic happens to the U.S. economy, we expect inventory to grow this year. In fact, 2017 could be a banner year. We may not reach record volumes of transported cargo, but we could come close to reaching a few records from the past. Let's hope it works out. It would be good for C.R. England, our drivers, and the entire industry.