Diesel prices spur trucker to turn down loads, call lawmakers

Discussion in 'Commerical Transportation' started by xcel, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    Hi Keith,

    I agree with you that there is a lot to learn from the rest of us about the trucking industry/culture. It is safe to say that there are changes coming to all of America not just the trucking industry.

    There is nothing new here. Just imagine being in the camera/film industry with the recent development of digital cameras.

    Things are about to change the country big time.
  2. Euroford

    Euroford Well-Known Member

    I had a little count up of the big rigs that passed me on the way home yesterday, and the way in to work this morning. I drive 20 miles of interstate each way between exit 170 and exit 150 along I-95 in SC, usually averaging about 60mph.

    Trip home yesterday, 14 trucks passed me
    Trip in this morning, 8 trucks passed me.

    I never left the right hand lane, so obviously, I didn't pass anyone :) OK, that’s not true, I actually did pass a Ford Expedition stopped on the hard shoulder.. (Maybe they ran out of gas?).

    Knowing this information, I'm sure someone a lot smarter than me could calculate some kind of average trucks per mile along I-95 and average speed, possibly incorporating fuel savings if traveling slower.

  3. ellendanis

    ellendanis Active Member

    I have to admit that I am guilting of not wanting my drivers to slow down. :(

    Almost half of my business right now is sports personalities moving into or out of the area for the beginning/end of the season. These guys expect for their car/boat/4 wheeler/golf cart to pick up in Seattle on Monday and be delivered in the Metroplex on Tuesday! They have been catered to for so long in every other aspect that they just don't understand that we aren't FedEx. Many times they just think that they need to pay more to get it here quicker. Alas, the anxiety and stress trickles down (sigh).

    I have several drivers that have down-sized to smaller trailers . . . some to 'hot shots' that don't have to follow the 'time on/time off' rules. Cars will deliver quicker but, I am concerned about safety (for the driver and the cargo).

    One of my favorite drivers sold all 3 trucks and shut down last week ("going out while we're still ahead"). So, a few have already put 2 and 2 together. Others won't figure it out until the credit card is declined when they stop for fuel.

    I feel strongly that if the drivers wouldn't take the low paying loads - the greedy-money hungry-do nothing brokers (myself excluded, of course) would be forced to raise their rates. But, I can also see it from the driver point of view - he would rather have something paying anything in that spot than run with an empty spot. SIGH!

    I don't have 'product' going to a distribution facility. We pick up from the customer (or dealership) and deliver to the customer (or agent). A big portion of my business is moving and storage clients with corporate relocations. There's also my fleet sales and leasing companies (think Mary Kay). Anyway, with each move there is either a VERY limited window for pick up OR a time crunch for delivery. That is why I am in business - the moving and storage companies have 'pools' for vehicle transport (taking anywhere from 3 - 5 weeks to go across country). People won't tolerate that kind of service anymore!

    On a side note, I am also guilty of asking why my chicken feed has gone up 25 to 30 cents every two weeks for the last 3 or 4 months. Uhm . . . it's carried in by TRUCK, you doh-doh! I am planting a small garden this year (instead of just tomato plants) so that I am not as reliant on produce that arrives by truck. I have considered goats for milk but, I just don't know if I can go that 'country'. All of that to say that the average American is so far removed from the manufacture/production of the goods that they consume - they don't equate higher prices with higher transportation costs. A trucking strike would be a REAL eye-opener.
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Ellen:

    ___You described your business as being “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” and I hope this all gets sorted out in the very near future with fuel costs being passed on to the end purchaser. Eventually it has to or the end purchaser/user doesn’t receive what he or she wants. Either way, it sounds like a painful transition is in our midst.

    ___Thanks to both you and Keith for your insights …

    ___Good Luck

  5. toastblows

    toastblows Well-Known Member

    So if im hauling a load of lexus vehicles, its best to stay in the cab and sleep while my buddies steal the cars off the back, that way i get insurance covered and a lil extra on the side. I guess its worth freezing for a couple hours. :bananalama:
  6. kngkeith

    kngkeith Well-Known Member

    These and similiar companies don't have to deal with this:
    WalMart trucks exist in a very controlled environment. They originate from their own DC and go to their own stores, and often drop and hook at each point. The only regular "live" loading they do is when they pick up product from WalMart vendor's facilities to bring back to the WalMart DC. This is the only loading/unloading variable that their dispatch has to deal with.
    UPS and FedEx semi's usually run between their respective facilities. These are regular, scheduled runs in a controlled environment. If you see a FedEx speed by, it probably is a Custom Critical truck, which does not operate with the same controls.
    When a LTL customer doesn't have their freight ready in time, it's no big deal, there is the other customers' freight to haul. A truckload carrier is at the mercy of shipper/receiver appointment times, delays, changes, etc.
    The variables are different. If I as a trucker, make a delivery appointment at a WalMart DC, then get hung up at the shipper, I don't have the option of calling WalMart and move the appointment back 5 hours. To them, its my problem. They'll take me at the next available appointment, usually within 2 or 3 days. Good-by backhaul, good-by making revenue for those 2 or 3 days. It's not just WalMart, remember the driver who got really nervous and defensive when he was late to the grocery DC? Because he knew there was a legitimate chance they would reject him, and he'd be screwed. He was late because he was hung up at the shipper.

    My write up tries to illustrate the mind set. But these mind sets have a good dose of perception mixed in with facts, or vice versa. I've made the change, but it wasn't easy. And there are still times (very rare) when I need to run 65 mph to make an appointment.

    Financing, Maintenance, Insurance
    Financing- if financed $900-$1500 per month.
    Maintenance- related to miles and usage. Yes, cost per mile reduces as speed reduces.
    Insurance- if independent has own authority- runs between $5000 and $9000 per year.

  7. rweatherford

    rweatherford Times my Mileage by Six

    I'm one of those with my own schedule and basically no hours of service requirements, so I only have to worry about the time the location is open of my unload facility. If I won't make it to the unload facility in time, I don't leave. I wait until the next day.

    My schedules are very simple. Make as many loads as possible within the operation hours set by the unload facility. We have our own freight. Only variables are drive time to and from (within 100 miles), time required to load the truck (0.5-1.5 hours) and time required to unload truck (0.5-2 hours) I adjust my leave times to maximize the possible loads for the day and my truck speed has little effect on the overall day most of the time unless I can get very near to another load at the end of the day. I don't stop for anything all day. Most things can be taken care of when waiting on one end or the other of the trip.

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