A Yr of Continued Challenges

This put up is a part of a sequence sponsored by IAT Insurance coverage Group.

Extra challenges are coming to the transportation sector in 2024.

The U.S. financial system continues to be the primary fear for drivers and fleet carriers alike. Components like inflation (2023’s prime trade concern), rising rates of interest and better diesel costs are inflicting a ripple impact all through the transportation trade.[1] Whereas it’s true that inflation has stabilized, it has carried out so from the next plateau and exhibits no indicators of coming down. Costs proceed to climb and the next value baseline is anticipated for repairs, upkeep and new autos.

These similar inflationary pressures are additionally impacting the insurance coverage trade by elevated declare prices and settlements. Premiums might want to proceed to extend to maintain tempo with inflation-driven will increase in the price of settling claims.

Along with financial pressures, authorities regulation on the state and nationwide degree will even be of concern.

5 issues for fleet carriers in 2024

With a lot uncertainty stemming from points flowing over from the earlier 12 months, the very best protection is to be told and proactive. Listed here are 5 developments fleet carriers ought to be cognizant of to bolster their success in 2024:

1. Upkeep delays

As margins proceed to shrink, corporations could also be tempted to carry again on routine upkeep and inspections to economize within the brief time period. This workaround results in pricey long-term dangers like service violations, costly repairs leading to downtime and an elevated chance of accidents.

Take motion: Resist the urge to cut back upkeep practices beneath the producer’s normal necessities and proceed to finish pre- and post-trip inspections. DOT Roadside inspections leading to elevated CSA scores or a rise in a provider’s accident frequency resulting from upkeep points can have an opposed affect on insurance coverage premiums. Search for different alternatives to tighten the finances and maintain your upkeep schedule on observe.

2. Improve in theft

Theft claims are on the rise and this development exhibits no indicators of slowing down. Final 12 months there was a 20% soar in reported cargo theft incidents, which vary from stealing the cargo to stealing the complete automobile and happen most frequently in parking tons and truck stops as thieves make the most of drivers’ must sleep or take a break. Brokerage cargo theft elevated by 600% in 2022, making the commandeering or misdirecting of shipments the primary cargo theft technique.

Take motion: Be proactive in your efforts to stave off theft and its opposed affect on the price of doing enterprise. Listed here are 5 easy methods to get forward of the issue:

  • Pre-plan routes to pinpoint protected places for drivers to cease, eat and relaxation.
  • The shortage of truck parking has been a difficulty for many years and a top-five concern since 2015.1 Take into account reserving paid personal parking spots. Personal parking typically consists of perimeter fencing, enough lighting, safety cameras and onsite personnel 24/7.
  • Connect moveable monitoring units to your autos, chassis and cargo to make them simple to find within the occasion that they’re stolen or go lacking.
  • Pay shut consideration to how you’re managing hours of service and securing masses.
  • Focus on high-value/high-target theft masses with the motive force throughout dispatch offering them with security measures to make use of whereas loading and transporting such masses.

3. DOT rule adjustments

Seven high-level DOT rule adjustments launched in 2022-2023 are anticipated to be launched in 2024. Whereas there’s presently no affirmation on what the ultimate rule updates will entail, maintain your eye out for these guidelines coming down the highway:

  • FMCSA Security Administration System replace
  • Obligatory pace limiters
  • Auto emergency braking methods
  • Crash preventability dedication program
  • CDL drug and alcohol clearinghouse return to obligation course of
  • Competency and abilities testing
  • Oral fluids in addition to urine samples for drug/alcohol testing

Take motion: Hold abreast of what’s taking place. Keep present on trade information and get entangled in your state associations for helpful info and help.

4. New California electrical automobile guidelines

Regulatory strain throughout the nation is pushing the transition to electrical autos (EVs), and California’s truck emission requirements are main the cost within the trucking trade. California’s greater compliance laws don’t simply have an effect on the California-domiciled provider; any carriers that drive into the state are impacted, inflicting important hurdles for a lot of corporations nationwide.

The truth is, zero-emission autos have been recognized as a important challenge within the trucking trade for the primary time in 2023.1 Within the wake of the brand new guidelines, companies are grappling with the monetary viability of constant California-based operations and contracts. As well as, distribution facilities are popping up simply outdoors of the California border to accommodate non-compliant vans that may not cross state strains.

Take motion: Transitioning to an EV fleet is not any easy feat; contemplate all the variables at play earlier than deciding whether or not this can be a sensible choice for your small business in 2024. These pricey autos current challenges with charging capability, and the elevated weight of batteries reduces cargo capability. Additional complicating issues, mechanics that work on electrical autos aren’t available, which might make route planning a problem since plans should account for charging stations and repairs if the necessity arises. There’s additionally a scarcity of readability round how insurance coverage corporations will cowl EVs resulting from uncertainty surrounding prices to restore or exchange gear.

5. Driver retention and hiring

Many economists undertaking the freight market to proceed to melt within the first and second quarters of 2024 earlier than rebounding in late 2024, so corporations ought to stay centered on retaining their greatest workers. With turnover in some trucking trade segments as excessive as 85% to 90%, fleets have invested in retention bonuses to maintain their greatest drivers. The truth is, the common retention bonus has climbed nearly 90% over the previous 4 years to $1,272.1

Take motion: Whether or not your focus is on retention or hiring, prioritize high quality above all else. The advantages of excellent drivers are far-reaching, even impacting insurance coverage prices — higher drivers imply higher charges. Think about using in-cab telematics to get an knowledgeable view of your drivers’ security habits and effectivity on the highway. This GPS-based know-how can present insights into driver efficiency together with pace, laborious braking and extra.

When load volumes return later in Q3 or This fall this 12 months, be ready if it is advisable to begin hiring once more. Do your due diligence and cling to greatest practices, laws and your guiding rules and preserve your dedication to hiring the very best drivers obtainable for the job.

Trying forward

The 12 months 2024 is shaping as much as be a 12 months of change already, so keep knowledgeable on new guidelines and laws, plan to reduce the chance of theft, and be versatile across the fluctuating market development.

For steerage on find out how to handle your fleet’s threat in 2024, attain out to IAT Insurance coverage.

By Tom MacCallum, Peter Matthews and Nick Martin

[1] American Transportation Analysis Institute “Essential Points within the Trucking Trade – 2023,” October 2023.


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