Tuesday, 15 November 2016 14:33

How Will Electronic Logging Devices Impact the Hardwood Lumber Industry?

One of the key components of success for any hardwood lumber company is the trucking relationships they have. Trucking is present in every each aspect of the supply chain. Whether it is getting logs to the sawmill, or kiln dried lumber to our customers, trucking is very important.

Smyrna containers waitingThe trucking industry is preparing for a new regulation that will require truck drivers to use electronic logging devices, (ELD), instead of paper logs starting in December of 2017. Many leaders in the trucking industry have expressed reasons for concern because of the additional costs and reduction in productivity this might cause. We are watching this development closely to better understand how it might impact the hardwood lumber business.

When we look at our trucking suppliers we notice that about 50% of the firms we use would be classified as small to medium suppliers. Most of them have not yet converted to ELD and when they do we expect it could have a significant impact on their capacity and costs to operate. Some speculate that some of the smaller trucking firms might choose to leave the industry instead of trying to comply to the new regulations.

We have already seem some of the larger trucking firms we use, (the ones who already adopted ELD), change their service offerings. For example, some suppliers have ceased supporting double pick-ups, eliminated some lanes or have lengthened their time commitments to deliver a load of lumber.

It could also have an impact on how fast we can get logs, accept green lumber in the sawmill or even transfer materials between our own facilities in the future which will cause us to rethink our delivery schedules and commitments.

On the flip side, the hope for ELD is more efficient carrier networks and driver safety.

More information is sure to surface during the next 12 years as this regulation takes effect. It will be interesting to watch how it impacts the hardwood industry. If you have other thoughts let us know.

Tony Cimorelli
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