Roadcheck 2018: Prepping for Current and Future Market Conditions
Roadcheck is the annual event by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) where tens of thousands of inspections are performed on commercial vehicles. This year's Roadcheck will take place June 5th - 7th. Additionally, end of month and the Memorial Day holiday will increase pressure on our market. It's important to recognize what's coming and how you can prepare now to minimize potential service interruptions and higher costs.
Memorial Day and End of Month
We traditionally see increased demand for freight pickup at the end of each month as shippers attempt to clear inventory and influence monthly accounting metrics. May 2018 will see Memorial Day and end of the month in the same week where many businesses will only operate four days.
The annual CVSA International Roadcheck will take place the following week, June 5th-7th. During this time commercial motor vehicle inspectors across North America will conduct an increased number of 37-step, Level 1 vehicle and driver inspections. Last year, inspectors recorded more than 62,000 inspections. That's an average of 17 inspections every minute! Each year a particular area is highlighted, and hours of service will be the focus for 2018. However, if any critical violation is found in any part of the inspection, the driver, vehicle, or both may be placed out of service. Due to violations discovered during these inspections, nearly 20% of inspected vehicles were taken out of service in 2017. Historically this means some carriers will opt to stay off the road during Roadcheck week. In 2017, Freight Waves reported truck postings to load boards decreasing by 9% during the 2014 Roadcheck, while at the same time load postings increased by 37%. This year's focus on hours of service, coupled with the recent implementation of the ELD Mandate could lead to a bigger impact on the freight market than previous years. Add to this the historic high rates for dry van shipping over the last 12 months, and you can expect to see higher prices on available capacity in an already tight market.
How You Can Prepare Now
There are actions you can take now to get ahead of the upcoming challenges and minimize the impact to your shipping operations.
Be flexible with freight scheduling. Pull your pickup/delivery days forward or push them out past the end of month and Roadcheck weeks. Being flexible with the pickup/delivery time windows, drop trailer requirements, and overall transit times can also help you in securing capacity.
Investigate alternative capacity options. If you know your preferred methods of delivery are going to be impacted, talk with your carrier about options now. Consider moving from a published rate to spot rate for these weeks. And, of course, plan ahead by securing capacity now at rates that will allow your carrier and broker to commit to being on the road during Roadcheck. All of these will go a long way in helping you to secure capacity and fulfill your obligations during a known time of tight capacity and increased pressure on the market. Reach out to your J.B. Hunt team or request a quote and let us help you find specific solutions for your unique needs.