Trucking delays causing trouble for businesses

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota businesses that rely on truck drivers for supplies have been experiencing delays due to mandated electronic logging devices.

Delivery times to Dakota Gasification Co. have sometimes doubled or tripled after the Federal Motor Carrier Association began requiring the electronic logging devices for commercial drivers this year, the Bismarck Tribune reported . Dakota Gasification relies on trucks to get supplies to its Great Plains Synfuels Plant near Beulah, said Nathan Johnson, senior logistics administrator.

“Deliveries we used to get in one day are now taking three or four,” he said, which in turn slows the plant’s operations.

The devices don’t change the hours of service requirements drivers must meet, but they have affected how those hours are counted. Drivers would previously use loading and unloading hours to meet down time requirements, Johnson said. But drivers no longer have that option because the devices keep running.

“It was already difficult to get shipments into North Dakota,” said Shannon McQuade-Ely of McQuade’s Distributing.

McQuade-Ely said she can’t directly blame the logging devices as a cause because there are other factors like the Transportation Department’s physical requirements and the spread of recreational marijuana legalization that make drivers ineligible. But she has seen a greater difference since the devices went into effect.

North Dakota’s congressional delegation has sought some relief.

Both of the state’s U.S. senators have signed on to the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act, which would exempt loading and unloading times from the hours of service calculation of driving time. The legislation would also grant flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during a trip without counting against time.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer also has signed onto the ELD Extension Act, which would delay the logging device mandate by two years.

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