2018 is Here and a bunch of other topics
Welcome to the January 2018 edition of “Al’s Corner.” Believe it of not this is my 10th year of writing this note. I really pray that everyone has a great New Year. It should be interesting with the ever-quick changing world we live in. For me, I will continue to evolve as I pick and choose how, what and where I do it. When I think of some improvements and change I like (love) all I can say is --- The 2018 Chevy Traverse. For the first time in my life I leased it. This vehicle has incredible technology, power, ride, ample size, and comfort. I rarely plug companies, but George Weber in Columbia, IL was awesome to deal with. Fair trade-in, aggressive pricing, and great staff to deal with. My salesman was Tim Hughes, but my old friend Raquel’s dad, Mike Shields, works part-time there too. Either you will find there are awesome!
Quick shout out to a man that is several years younger than me, Bill Dunham, who is retiring from The Delivery Network after 40 years, incredible! And YES I am jealous! Bill is a great person that is one of my closest friends. I hope he and Ellen have a great retirement (yes she is retiring too, now I am even more envious!). Bill you will be missed!
Next Big Event --- January 24th is the date for the Transportation Clubs Holiday Party at the vastly improved "Hideaway” Bar on Arsenal in south St. Louis. The fun starts at 5 pm and we will provide free food and a cash bar. This is ALWAYS a "unique” night of fun, libations, and networking.
Ok, our fabulous (?) Web Master Jim Labit keeps telling me “Al, you can always write about the state of the trucking industry.” So Jim, here we go. As the 3rd quarter of 2017 began the availability of trucks began to tighten. By the end of the year it had gotten increasingly worse. Intermodal was not much better with strong demand as well. Spot rates sky rocketed mostly because the economy seemed to really pick up. The new hours of service monitoring devices were getting installed in the trucks across the country and that seemed to really make finding trucks for loads tougher and more expensive.
The future does seem cloudy as shippers hope that the traditional, beginning of the year slow down in shipping swings prices and equipment availability back to a more normal deal. I am very skeptical, not sure. My reasoning is I am hearing that because of the new monitoring devices installed in the trucks, truck drivers and trucking company incomes and go down. Because they will not drive as many miles as they used to do, yet have the same costs, thus they will make less money. Other issues are younger people are not real interested in driving trucks, and with lower mileage per week, some drivers will also leave the market place. Shippers that have traditionally been lax, even inconsiderate and rude, or simply never worried about how long it took to load, or unload will pay more to move things. They may even struggle to get drivers to move their loads at all.
Driver shortage --- So to get more drivers out on the road one would think that the wages for the drivers will have to go up a bunch. Either way (paying drivers more to get more drivers, or having less drivers) everything we buy, use, or eat will be going up in price. Will that hurt the economy, or slow it down? We will see. None of this covers the emerging and growing home delivery segment.
My advice to shippers out there is to be proactive, and avoid last minute just in time shipping. Also partner with transportation companies that put your interests first. That is how I have always treated all my customers, they come first! We will see how it all plays out, but my gut feeling is the equipment tightness will continue for a long while thus keeping rates higher for shippers.
Have a momentous year,
Giltner St. Louis