The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is always updating trucking regulations in response to everything from safety concerns to climate change. Carriers, of course, are expected to stay honed in on these changes, updating their practices and equipment on an as-needed basis. Shippers, on the other hand, may be less apt to stay abreast of regulatory changes. This can prove to be a costly mistake.
Shippers are expected to do their due diligence when it comes to choosing carrier partners. That includes choosing companies that are working within FMCSA guidelines, a task that requires knowledge of said guidelines.
“When selecting carriers to work with, shippers are responsible for properly vetting each trucking company’s background and safety record,” Stephen Drew, Senior Director of Customer Operations for Emerge, said. “In addition, being aware of things such as hours of service regulations allows a shipper to accurately forecast when a shipment will be able to reach its destination.”
When shippers can gauge a shipment’s arrival time, they are better able to avoid costly supply chain shutdowns and inventory shortage, all while preventing unhappy customers due to unforeseen delays.
Ultimately, staying up to date on carrier regulations can save shippers a great deal of time, money and hassle. Some of the most significant benefits include:
- Shippers can choose carrier partners that are more likely to deliver high levels of service based on their track records, allowing them to avoid in-transit freight issues.
- Shippers can partner with companies adhering to FMCSA guidelines tied to the inspection, repair and maintenance of equipment, which will reduce the risk of mechanical issues and equipment breakdowns that cause delays and mount on extra costs.
- Understanding hours of service allows shippers to focus on operating their docks effectively, minimizing the amount of time drivers spend on non-driving tasks that cut into their HOS.
In addition to aiding shippers in maximizing their profits, having a good understanding of the current regulatory environment can aid shippers in avoiding expensive penalties and lawsuits.
Shippers can be held liable if the carriers they hire to transport their freight cause an accident while not adhering to FMCSA regulations if the shipper did not properly vet the carrier and inspect their licensing, registration and safety regulations.
“Oftentimes shippers will cut corners in this vetting process, as they are looking for low-cost options to move their goods from point A to point B, and the carriers who are not adhering to all laws and regulations will offer their services at a lower price point,” Drew said. “Even though the shipper may realize a short-term cost savings, if they are found liable when an extremel accident occurs, the cost of the lawsuit and any potential settlement will negate the savings realized by working with a carrier not up to FMCSA regulations.”
The process of evaluating every carrier partner can be daunting. Shippers can avoid most of the legwork by working with a third-party company like Emerge to ensure they are using top-notch trucking companies to move their freight.
Emerge can give shippers peace of mind knowing that all carriers that have access to the marketplace — and in turn the shipper’s freight — are vetted by an expert compliance team to ensure their adherence to all current FMCSA regulations.
“If a shipper has more stringent requirements for a carrier to haul their freight than what is considered the industry standard, Emerge gives shippers the ability to customize their vetting requirements to ensure that only the subset of carriers within the Emerge marketplace who meet these respective requirements have visibility to bid on their freight,” Drew added.