From Wall Street to Main Street

With the growing economy and an E-log mandate that creates an even playing field amongst carriers, rates are on the rise, as they should. Asset base companies finally have the opportunity to recover from the 20% cost increase they endured from 2007 – 2017. The past ten years carriers have watched costs rise without the means or ability to increase pricing to off-set our expense.

That inability resulted in carriers cutting cost through wage decreases. Management, office staff, drivers and owner-operators all felt the hit. By 2009, right in the middle of the financial crisis, staff and drivers alike watched their pays dwindle by 5-10%, setting us back to 2007 levels where we remained until 2017.

“Is it any wonder that the monkey’s confused?” -RW

Carriers have struggled to survive, while the large non-asset based publicly trading companies have thrived; these companies are yielding 15% margins to satisfy the money hungry shareholders. They boast their success but completely turned a blind eye to the conditions of our industry, especially our drivers that were affected from the start and are now on the verge of becoming extinct.

These are the people that have controlled our industry, these large companies that created an environment where it became cheap, cheaper and finally cheapest, all in the name of so-called “better efficiency and strategic solutions” for lack of a better word- BS.

I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a role or purpose in some cases for better efficiencies and strategic solutions.  I’m also not suggesting that there isn’t room for a non-asset-based service provider that may align with strategic partnerships with projects that may give a shipper a true value-added solution. But let’s get real, taking a truckload from point A to point B in a straight line, just doesn’t get any more efficient now does it?  Going into every shipper across North America creating a buy/sell environment where the end result is savings for the shipper, big margins for the middleman, crumbs for the carrier and nothing for the driver—in retrospect—is a bad recipe right from the start.

Now we’re faced with a serious driver shortage that is visible to everyone, not just those on the inside. We have a growing economy that further impacts and fully realizes the damage caused by the last nine years. Add to that damage the electronic log mandate, which creates an even playing field forcing bad carriers to compete within the boundaries of the law.

There is an opportunity at hand, to make good on our past failures, compensation for carriers, driver pay equity and ultimately better service for our valued clients. Every genuine carrier has its own logistics department by design, these departments are not a profit centre for money hungry shareholders, that have zero skin in the game, but rather an extension of our value-added customer service.

Let’s do right by our drivers, correct our industry, repair our relationships, deal with clients and service providers devoted to quality, and above all be safe. 

wallst

About Denis Medeiros

I have been in the transportation industry since 1982 as an owner operator, dispatcher, and operations manager. In 1995, I started my own transportation business, JBT Transport. Working in the trucking industry, and directly with drivers, has allowed me to witness firsthand the need for a change in attitude toward this industry, and it has lead me to commit my efforts to gaining respect where it belongs, right in the driver’s seat.
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