Two thousand sixteen promises to be an exciting year for food haulers. No matter what role a company plays on the fleet landscape – carrier, shipper or freight broker – there are opportunities and challenges on several fronts. One challenge in particular, the nation’s driver shortage, will accelerate as more drivers retire.
But 2016 is also a year for some major regulatory changes that call on every player to be up-to-speed on what they have to do.
The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate marks one of the biggest regulatory changes in the fleet industry’s history, requiring many drivers to electronically comply with hours of service (HOS) rules that instruct a driver to take a 30-minute break with every eight hours.
As more fleets begin adding the electronic devices in 2016, some observers think more drivers will exit the business, further exacerbating the driver shortage.
In addition to ELDs, some aspects of the government’s carrier safety ratings program could change.
One set of regulations specific to the food industry that remain uncertain is the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) sanitary transport rules for food (final rules are expected on Mar. 31, 2016). As currently written, they would require more recordkeeping and more extensive temperature monitoring, presenting new burdens for food haulers.
Other food industry specific challenges in 2016 include a continuing expansion of foodservice at the expense of food retail, as well as expanding e-commerce. Both of these trends bring a greater need for more LTL deliveries and local shipments.
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