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Sept.18, 2017

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SURFACE & DOMESTIC TRANSPORTATION TRUCKING | RAIL | INTERMODAL | AIR & EXPEDITED | DISTRIBUTION 40 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE SEPTEMBER 18.2017 THOUSANDS OF BUSINESSES that rent trucks on a short-term basis, whether for days or weeks, should expect higher costs and com- plexity when the looming electronic logging mandate becomes law on Dec. 18. The truck rental and leasing industry wants federal regulators to give businesses ranging from bakeries and beverage distributors to small private fleets short-term ELD relief when they rent trucks to deal with short-term seasonal surges in demand. "When you look at companies that employ 20 people or less, that's a huge sector of this market," said Richard Mohr, rental vice president and global product manager at Ryder System, a truck rental and leasing company. "Look at the companies delivering ice to local stores, fireworks companies set- ting up stalls near malls in July. They rely on rental vehicles to meet peak season or surge demand. For them, the ELD mandate will add a whole new level of complexity." These are not for-hire trucking compa- nies, whether owner-operators or truckload giants, engaged in the business of trans- portation, Mohr said. In writing the ELD regulation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration concentrated on how it would affect for-hire trucking businesses, but "didn't take into consideration some of the impact on smaller businesses, the local business that doesn't have transportation as its primary business," he said. Many of those businesses are shippers who will have to rethink how they use rental trucks to augment their private fleets, and when they turn to a for-hire carrier for a dedicated trucking solution. Dedicated trucking operators, including Ryder System, could see an increase in demand for "pop- up" dedicated fleets operating under very short-term contracts. "I can't tell you how many customers I'm talking to about how to meet their surge need," Mohr said. This impact of ELDs on small business shippers and private fleets is another exam- ple of the sweeping effect the electronic logging mandate may have on US businesses and domestic and international supply chains, starting with a potential spike in port drayage costs. Truckload carriers and owner-operators may feel the brunt of the regulatory impact, but the advent of the ELD era could affect supply chain strategies and how freight is moved far beyond trucking. As the Dec. 18 deadline nears, many smaller trucking companies — as well as businesses renting trucks — reportedly are far from ready to switch from paper logbooks to ELDs. The phased-in enforcement sched- ule announced Aug. 28 by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance should give truckers, shippers, and brokers more breathing room. A variety of groups still are seeking an outright delay of the regulation or exemp- tions for specific types of operations, such as drivers of rental trucks. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports a bill that would delay the rule for two years. The Truck Rental and Leasing Associa- tion, of which Ryder is a member, in March petitioned the FMCSA for a five-year exemption from ELD requirements for driv- ers of commercial vehicles rented for 30 days or less. Those drivers would fulfill hours-of- service record keeping requirements using paper logs. The petition, published by the FMCSA in the March 22 Federal Register, is still open, pending a decision. TRALA's petition drew nearly 300 comments. In its comments, the American Truck- ing Associations noted for-hire carriers also rent trucks to handle freight surges and when trucks need repairs. "Providing a limited exception for CMV rentals of 30 or fewer days will help prevent disruptions to the US supply chain by allowing motor carri- ers to retain the flexibility they need to adapt when CMVs break down or when increasing freight demand creates a short-term need for additional capacity," the ATA said. TRALA sees several problems and pitfalls in the ELD mandate for smaller companies renting trucks. First, if the rental truck itself has no ELD installed, the renter would have to purchase and install one. Most service con- tracts sold with devices run for a year, so a business could be stuck with an annual bill for an ELD it would use less than 30 days. And if the rental truck comes with an ELD installed, that device may not be interoper- able with ELDs already used by the renter. "Considering the significant number of different device platforms and subscription options, it is highly unlikely that the driver's device would be able to communicate prop- erly with the rental company's telematics platform," TRALA said in its petition. "Data cannot be transferred from the rental vehicle to the customer's system unless both ELDs are on the same platform." The FMCSA did not require ELDs to be interoperable, TRALA noted, because of cost and complexity. J&M Displays, an Iowa-based fireworks display company, provides an example of how complex the ELD requirement could be for its business. "Currently, we employ 30 full-time employees, however, during the peak Fourth of July season, we employ over 1,340 employees," John Whitaker, DOT compliance manager for J&M, said in com- ments submitted to the FMCSA. J&M rents about 250 small trucks and vans for 20 days or less during the Fourth of July season. "Allowing our drivers who must operate short-term rental trucks to continue to utilize By William B. Cassidy TRUCK RENTAL WOES Short-term leasing of trucks to grow more complex and pricey with ELD mandate

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