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New HOS regs increasing rates: Bradley

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Carrier resolve to charge customers for delays and ancillary services is "as high as it...

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Carrier resolve to charge customers for delays and ancillary services is "as high as it has ever been,” says CTA CEO David Bradley.

Bradley made his remarks during a presentation today to a joint meeting of the U.S. and Canadian transportation lawyers associations.

"The reality is that the trucking industry is in the midst of what some have termed, the perfect storm," said Bradley. "Operating costs like fuel, insurance, wages and security are all going are all going up. At the same time, there is a capacity crunch in the industry in large part reflecting a driver shortage combined with an upsurge in demand. Overlay that with a five per cent productivity hit from the new U.S. hours of service regulations and you have created the perfect conditions for increases in freight rates and accessorial charges."

He said the mood amongst shippers with regard to paying higher rates and/or accessorial charges "has been more accepting." But, he added, "Carriers have to be able to provide shippers with adequate documentation to show when and where delays are occurring."

According to Bradley, the most significant element of the new U.S. hours of service regulations which came into force in January of this year is the introduction of a 14-hour "working window,” which requires a driver to get all his/her driving hours in within 14 hours of coming on duty.

"This measure has reduced the tolerance for delays to zero,” said Bradley. “Drivers must be paid for waiting time at borders and for delays in loading/unloading at shipper or consignee docks. The costs of the new hours of service regulations cannot be solved on the backs of the drivers."

Shippers can moderate the increases in rates and accessorial charges, by working closely with their carriers and drivers to improve efficiencies in the loading/unloading process.

"Many carriers are reporting good co-operation with shippers in this regard and this has been very helpful,” he said.

New Canadian federal hours of service regulations are being finalized now and are expected to become law in 2005. Bradley says he expects there will be more compatibility between the Canadian and U.S. rules than has been the case.

However, he said, "there are still a few issues to be ironed out and we have great concerns over things like the fixed working window concept and how the split time provisions will look in their final form. Compatibility is good, but the rules do not have to be identical."

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