From Trucks to Trains: ELDs Could Cause an Increase in Intermodal

November 22, 2017
By Danielle Leonard

Semi truck faded to a train

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate—which requires motor carriers to install devices that automatically record driving time—is steadily approaching and many truckers still haven’t complied. As of October, nearly one million truck drivers haven’t purchased ELDs and many are still strongly against e-logs altogether. You can read tweets of displeased truckers under the hashtag #ELDORME. Many of these truckers have even threatened to leave the industry once the mandate goes into effect. Losing drivers along with the current truck driver shortage, means the capacity crunch could be even tighter in 2018.

How Will The Mandate Affect Capacity?

With paper logs, truckers were able to skirt around the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, but with e-logs this won’t be possible and will force truckers to drive less hours. Driving less means it will take longer to get shipments to their final destination, thus decreasing productivity. It’s estimated that anywhere from 3-15% of productivity will be taken out of the trucking market as a result of the ELD mandate.

From Trucks to Trains

With a decrease in trucking productivity, the prediction is that the ELD mandate may cause a surge in intermodal transportation. Transport Topics forecasts that “shippers expect to put more freight on railroads next year,” because of the concern that the ELD mandate will tighten trucking capacity. Some cargo owners have already moved freight to railroads to avoid trucking rate increases. Whether or not this is just a temporary shift in the market, we can expect to see a rise in intermodal this coming year.

Fortunately, Mohawk partners with thousands of carriers across North America and has representatives standing by to assist in procuring intermodal and over-the-road services for all your needs. Learn what routing options are best for your shipments, contact us at