Electronic notebooks mandatory as of 2021: what this means for logistics – Part 1

Electronic notebooks mandatory as of 2021: what this means for logistics – Part 1

Last June, Transport Canada announced that electronic logging devices (ELDs) are soon to become mandatory for Canadian carriers operating beyond a 160-kilometre range. Although this regulation has been in effect in the U.S. since December 2017, roughly 53% of pan-Canadian transportation companies will nevertheless have to switch to electronic logging, thereby transforming the transportation ecosystem in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

To assess how such a measure would impact its vast network of carriers and its numerous clients, G.M.R Freight Brokers met with several of them. This three-part series of articles highlights the perspectives of the various players in the transportation sector and their response to the mandatory ELD implementation scheduled for 2021.

Part 1 – The Carrier’s Advice: A Regulation that will Drive the Industry Forward!

Alexandre Coté, who took over the family business, was faced with a dilemma back in 2017 when the U.S. government imposed that any carrier operating on its territory would have to comply with ELD regulation. “Considering that a substantial part of our business is carried out just north of the border, it was a do-or-die situation for us. Looking back, I realize that this transition has truly benefited the quality of life for our drivers.” The co-owner of Transport Michel Coté mentions that, in addition to limiting the ability of some carriers to unfairly “cut prices”, this measure has had a tremendous impact on the morale of his drivers. “To mitigate the impacts that using the ELD has had on our team, such as fewer hours worked, we decided to increase salaries. Our drivers are paid the same and work fewer hours. They’re more rested and happier at work, which directly impacts the quality of our services.”

A measure that appeals to both old and new generations of drivers

Alain Fournier, an experienced transportation professional, shares the same view. “Even if the ELD regulation goes into effect in 2021, our market is already partially affected by this obligation due to the American reality.” Fournier, who has been the vice-president at Transbois for many years now, says logistics have been most profoundly impacted. “It has forced dispatchers to be highly organized and methodical. The electronic logbook makes it impossible to cut corners by “stretching” the hours worked. For companies that weren’t structured, the cost was exorbitant.”

Although these professionals come from different generations of carriers, they see eye-to-eye on a couple of points:

First and foremost, the advent of the Canadian ELD regulation will increase the level of rigour with which the carriers manage their team and their facilities. Service evaluations will be more accurate and the risk of deviation will be significantly reduced.

The benefits of such a regulation, both for the quality of life of drivers and for the excellent quality of the service provided far outweigh the market destabilization that could result from the introduction of the ELD for all federally regulated carriers.

Staying ahead in a changing industry is standard practice at G.M.R

Despite the regulatory changes announced in the transportation sector, G.M.R ensures that its customers benefit from technology and transportation logistics best practices. Our promise still stands—and will—well after 2021! Are you seeking top-notch service for your freight project? Call G.M.R Freight Brokers today!

G.M.R Freight Brokers wishes to thank Alexandre Coté and Alain Fournier, whose collaboration was key in the writing this article.