Shippers Back HOS Stay

It looks like the trucking industry is not alone in its efforts to sway the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals into issuing a stay for the current hours-of-service (HOS) rules.

The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) president & CEO John Ficker told Fleet Owner that a reversion back to the old hours of service rule would be disruptive to shippers.

“Although the impact on our members is not as direct, it is something we’re concerned about,” Ficker said. “Adjustments were made to the new rules. Going back seems inappropriate at this point.”

Shippers— like carriers— had to make adjustments to work within the new HOS rules. These adjustments were primarily focused on expediting the warehouse process, Ficker explained. “The biggest impact with the rule change is the fact that time for loading and unloading now counted on the clock, so people adjusted to minimize the impact on drivers,” he said.

In a brief filed to the Court supporting a stay for the mandate, NITL noted that shippers have made substantial changes to reduce the idle time of drivers, including adjusting dock hours, acquiring additional loading equipment, modifying schedules and dwell times, and converting shipments from truckload to LTL movements.

“My view is that there were some folks that came to recognize the importance of keeping the driver moving— and that’s a positive,” Ficker said.

“The bottom line is that nobody likes uncertainty, and the impact of having to change back and forth isn’t good on any operation— regardless of the industry,” he added.

The brief said that given the uncertainty of the final HOS, if the trucking industry is forced to revert to the old HOS shippers would be faced with a tough choice. They could incur the costs of reverting to their old supply chain to match the old rules. Or they could maintain the current supply chain, which would be inefficient under the old rules, until the new rules are adopted.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is expected to file a response next week to the plaintiff’s, Public Citizen, bid against the issuance of a stay.

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