ATLANTA, GA – By and large shippers are resisting the idea that freight rate increases are needed across the board to help the trucking industry deal with the impact of new hours of service (HOS) rules. However, shippers indicate that they are more than willing to work with the industry to improve efficiencies so as to minimize the effect of HOS on trucking operations.

“HOS cannot be a lightening rod for broad-based rate increases,” said Tony Brooks, VP-Transportation Services for Sears Logistics Services. Brooks spoke on a shipper panel here at a special HOS productivity summit hosted by truckload carrier Schneider National and Georgia Tech’s Logistics Institute.

“We agree that truck drivers are the ones absorbing supply chain costs through wait and loading/unloading time, but quite frankly, there’s still a lot of ambiguity about the impact HOS will have,” he said. “However, we also think that the [shippers] who create inefficiencies for carriers have to pay for that.”

“Productivity is the name of the game here because that helps cut costs – and we’re all trying to do that,” said Jim Andrews, North American transportation manager for Newell Rubbermaid. “No doubt carriers costs are going to go up but by how much we don’t know. But there are lots of ways to gain productivity in transportation and HOS is forcing us to look at them now.”

“This is an issue we have to deal with and we have to make an effort to go out an make changes,” said Wayne Paul, VP-Transportation for The Home Depot. “But this is not an open checkbook situation where rates can be raised across the board. We can’t allow ourselves to be penalized by other less efficient shippers.”

“We realize we must minimize the unproductive time of drivers, but at the same time, we can’t let HOS changes get in the way of our business,” added Sally Dees, associate director of delivery systems for Proctor & Gamble. “We see [HOS reform] as another opportunity to take waste out of the supply chain.”