Al’s Corner – February 2022

February 2022 Has 2 Big Events

On Thursday February 10th, a joint event hosted by TC STL, CSCMP, and YSCP will be held at Back Door Comedy Club located at 9015 Veterans Memorial Pkwy, O’Fallon, Mo.  $5 at the door, free food, cash bar. Fun times!! Come out and support our old friend Michael Tobin’s place!

On February 15, the amazing International Business Night will take place at The Cedars 939 Lebanon Dr. St. Louis, MO. Doors open at 5. For only $65 you get open bar Networking, open bar, and includes dinner.

Trucking News—still very tough out there with demand far exceeding the supply of available equipment. It is predicted by some that sometime in 2022 it will start to get better. I am skeptical.

Tribute to Truck Drivers—So, the end of January and the first part of February many people across the country, including the St. Louis area, got hit with huge winter storms.  The east coast got smoked by some freak snow weather on I-95 that stranded 1,000’s of people on the Interstate for over 24 hours.  A trucker hero immerged by giving out bread from his load to very hungry people that day and night.  Then they got hit with a “bomb cyclone a few days later.  Here and south of us got clobbered by a vicious ice storm, then having 8-10 inches of snow piled on top of it.  In the STL area road crews were tremendous while working around the clock.  These truckers are local heroes to me.  Thank you so much everyone for a job well done.  

Nationally any discussion about Truck Drivers should start with the words Thanks, Respect and Gratitude. I was thinking about how tough it must be to drive and be out in the elements the last few days.  I hated shoveling the snow!  So, thanks to every one of you drivers, and be careful!!

Here are a few things that you probably don’t know about being a truck driver.

*If a driver has an accident, big or small, some drivers will get let go many times by the company they represent?  How would you like to lose your job because someone driving, like we see all the time, like a maniac, or the truck has a mechanical failure?  Many trucks now have dash cameras on them as protection. 

*After an accident they will have a hard time getting another driving gig if they are deemed at fault. 

*Did you know that a driver gets dinged or flagged for light bulbs being out and other petty issues that compile points against that driver.  Example a beautiful truck with running lights all over it can get dinged a point for a side, decoration light, being out.  It is considered like a main taillight. We need safety measures, but this kind of stuff seems over the top.

*Drivers must follow strict guidelines on service hours on how many hours they can drive, and the rest mandated between driving shifts or hours. The monitoring product that they use is called e-log.

*There have been times recently that drivers would be required to stop their truck and not drive any more while being only a few miles from home?  This has been lessoned on regional drivers.  Long haul still has this issue, occasionally.  

*Most drivers have experienced bad behavior by Pickup origins and Delivery destinations.  This includes yelling and cursing at them, saying they don’t have an appointment even if they do, and making the driver wait excessive amounts of time. This reduces and counts on their hours-of-service time.  A driver has 14 hours per day to be active, and 11 hours of driving, then they must take their mandatory 10 hours for rest, so waiting can be a problem.

* To me, a big issue with getting more people behind the wheel is that a person must wait till they are 23 years old before they can do it.  This causes the industry to lose or miss out on people getting into it earlier or catching them before they start a different career.

*Finally, and this one is obvious, drivers give up many hours with friends, family, and it hard on relationships.

So, again thank you Drivers for your hard work, and even more so getting us through the pandemic, which caused many other issues for them and us.

Ok, so I am asked all the time “is there really a shortage of truck drivers?”

*My opinion, and some may disagree, is yes.  My reason is many drivers are older, and retiring every year, and are not being replaced with younger people.  So, the numbers will continue to get worse over time. 

*Also, much more is delivered than it ever was, with home delivery being the leading grow segment.

*Regional trucking is more prevalent than ever with more and more regional Warehousing and Distribution Centers being built. This may help ultimately with more getting behind the wheel because they can be home several times per week. I have said this before, lots of people don’t mind being away from home a few days per week, just not all week, or for weeks at a time.

*Another perk that may help in getting more drivers is the pay is quite a bit higher that it used to be.

Last thought on this—when we had driver shortages in the past, and the rates and pay to drivers were strong, more drivers and equipment entered the business.  Large and small carriers would add capacity (seeing huge dollars signs) and thus, increase the driver pool, and this would drive the rates down.  What happened this time, was when the pandemic hit trucking companies, and car companies cancelled their orders, and this has kept us from adding capacity now. It is very hard to get a new truck, or trailer currently.  All of this has kept capacity, or drivers and equipment from entering the marketplace.  The history knowledge for carriers understanding long standing trends, especially the larger ones, that they are making excellent money, why add capacity that would drive the rates down. 

Anyway, that’s it for this month, be safe and find time to have a little fun, AL