Today's Pickup

Today’s Pickup: Trade war threats loom as ELD enforcement begins

(Photo: Bruno Corpet Wikimedia Commons)

Good day,

China retaliates against Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs by imposing some of their own on a variety of food items effective today. Trump has said he is “not done with you (China)” as he references the allegations that China has stolen American intellectual property. Opinions are still mixed over the long-range impact of the tariffs. The impact to the transportation industry would be a trickle-down effect from the agricultural and other raw goods producers, the main exports the United States sends to China. The beleaguered shipping container industry would stand to lose the most coming out of its most profitable year in 7 years. These initial volleys may just be the beginning of what many are hoping is not a trade war.  

ELD implementation enters its next phase this week as the “hard” enforcement period begins.  Starting in December the “soft” enforcement period consisted of a series of verbal warnings and citations for not having a working ELD device installed. Many think it will lead to compounding the ongoing trucking issues of driver shortages, tightened capacity, and margin compression. The other side of the table states it is only pressing the trucking industry into the modern technological era as telematics and accurate tracking produce more efficiencies and a better service to both ends of the supply chain.

Did you know?

Malaysia just passed the “Anti-Fake News” law that goes into effect today. It punishes anyone found guilty of publishing statements the government deems as “fake” with up to a 6-year prison sentence and fines of up to $123,000.


“I don’t need anybody from Washington telling me when I need to rest, when I need to pick up, when I need to drive, when I need to stop. That just doesn’t work for this cowboy.”

Paul Sansoucy – 75-year-old owner-operator as told to Bloomberg

In other news:

U.S. Trucking Prices are About to Rise Even More

ELDs are creating additional costs. (Bloomberg)

Boeing Launches New Midrange 787-10 Dreamliner With Singapore Airlines

New long haul, ultra-efficient Boeing aircraft gets rolled out. (Forbes)

Port of Long Beach examines consequences of possible trade war at recent forum

LA port gets impacted with trade war talks. (SupplyChain 247)

U.S. rail carload and intermodal volumes see slight gains, reports AAR

Railroad volumes get reported. (SupplyChain 247)

Final Thoughts:

The ELD mandate may not be the most popular technique for keeping poorly rested drivers off the roads, it does force many trucking companies forward from a technological perspective. The benefit is it pushes trucking forward in  technological utilization. In the long run it should lead to more efficiency. The downside is the increase in cost and inefficient implementation processes that comes from a generalized top down policy. 

Many of the larger carriers already were developing these tools. The smaller carriers have an additional hurdle to overcome creating another barrier to entry in what was a relatively low cost entry market. 

Hammer down everyone!

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Zach Strickland, FW Market Expert & Market Analyst

Zach Strickland, the “Sultan of SONAR,” curates the weekly market update. Zach is also a one of FreightWaves’ Market Experts. With a degree in Finance, Strickland spent the early part of his career in banking before transitioning to transportation in various roles and segments, such as truckload and LTL. He has over 13 years of transportation experience, specializing in data, pricing, and analytics.