ELD – The Canadian Challenge
Back in April, we wrote an article discussing the challenges facing a trucking company with regards to the implementation of ELDs. Since then, we have been busy in continuing efforts of research and deliberation as to what type of product would be best suited for a small to medium-sized Canadian company like T&P Trucking.
It seems that just as we start to close in on a potential solution, we come to discover even more information that sends us back into deep deliberation. One such challenge is finding an ELD service that will provide constant communication and updates to our operations team. This may seem like an obvious feature that almost all ELD’s should have, and it is if you live in the United States.
The ELD mandate will only be applied to drivers in America, so virtually all of the ELD products are targeted largely at American trucking companies. As a Canadian based trucking company, we are experiencing some real challenges towards finding a viable ELD product that is specific to our requisites.
The DATA Challenge
As a C-TPAT member, it is vital that we remain in constant communication with our drivers in order to ensure their loads remain uncompromised. Currently, it means regular phone calls to our drivers in order to track their whereabouts. As most ELDs use a constant data connection, soon it will entail either sharing the data service that is attached to a driver’s phone plan, or buying sim cards especially for the ELD. As long as the drivers are operating in Canada, either way won’t cause any issues. The real challenge is when they cross over into the States.
Out of the eight phone service providers in B.C, only 3 offer decent group data-sharing plans. Those remaining 3 providers have very little to offer for a roaming data-sharing plan, especially when it requires a long term use outside of their normal coverage area. The few phone plans that DO offer data roaming for business are incredibly expensive and not very adaptable. The only plans that are great for travelling are designed more for a personal use, offer limited data, and even then they’re still quite costly.
In contrast, the phone providers in the States offer great plans that easily cover you when you travel back and forth over the border. This makes it easy for any trucking companies that are based in the U.S, as they can easily travel back and forth without any hiccups. We would also love to utilize one of those plans, unfortunately the only way to get your hands one on a U.S business plan is to have a business registered in America, including company credit cards also verified to the address. This is obviously not an option for us.
Finding ‘The One’ Challenge
We want any ELD we choose to last us for at least 3 – 5 years, as the cost and time required to change products after a few months would not be ideal. The good news is that most of the current ELD providers offer free trials or consultations in order to find a service that fits a companies’ needs.
We have taken advantage of this service and it looks as though many do offer a great product that would integrate well with us. However, as most of the ELD companies have a majority of US based customers, many do not seem to be entirely sure how their ELD and it’s services will function on a Canadian data plan when traveling back and forth to Canada.
With the impending deadline coming in December 2017, it requires us to uncover a solution quickly. Once we find a reliable product that suits our needs, we will still need time in order to implement the devices in all of our trucks and then provide sufficient training for our drivers. We want our drivers to feel at ease with these new devices and realize how they can help save them time, avoid violations, improve customer service and, in the end, make them money.
Are you dealing with any similar issues? Or have you already found a solution?
We would love to hear you thoughts or ideas in the comments below.
You can also email us at [email protected]