Al’s Corner – September 2022

  Fall Golf Tournament is at Quail Creek on Oct 5

                    “The History of This Note”

Happy September 2022, time for another Al’s Corner note.

Next big event is our Fall Golf outing.  Cost is $95 per person which includes lunch, dinner, drink tickets, golf and networking fun. Contact Brad Reinhardt for more information.

Trucking News—Diesel prices have fallen about 30 cents per gallon over the past few months but is not steadily falling.  Diesel is running $1 more than regular gas. This many believe is fueling (sorry for the pun) inflation and huge increases in everything we all buy.

Gas prices continue to fall around 25% from its high point. Again, like I wrote about last month, what you pay on gas can vary greatly depending on even what city you are in.  Shop around for the best deal. Crazy.

Many smaller carriers are heading back to longer ones in search of a better deal on fuel, and other group buying programs.

Shippers are seeing a reduction in freight rates too.  I am curious, as I really do not have a crystal ball view on how the supply of carriers will be even in a few months. My gut feeling is if the base rates continue to slowly fall it will force many smaller carriers to merge with larger ones, or they will leave the business altogether. This is true since many employers are still struggling to fill open, needed, positions and are paying more than they used to pay. My fear is that drivers will say “I can make a little less than I do now behind the wheel in a truck but have a much better lifestyle.”  Over the road driving is a VERY hard life.  The higher money has kept the flow of drivers strong lately. This may be ending.

I have written similar thoughts over the years, but I would say that the arrow has turned towards being a “shippers’ market, or favorable one” now. Will it hold for a while, again I am not sure due to an aging driver pool, and the reduced rate factor.

On to the history of this note.  As I started this letter, I believe it marks the 13th anniversary of me writing it. So, back in 2009 I became President of the St. Louis Traffic Club, now known as the Transportation Club of St. Louis.  I had been on the board for many years before and it finally became my turn. Naturally, which is the way I am built mentally, I had an agenda on my first day as President.

  1.  Stop doing the printed, mailed, outdated and costly newsletter, and replace it with an internet product.  I remember the previous President saying, “she would meet me at the gates of hell before we gave up mailing the newsletter!” So, on day 1 I promoted the idea of it going away, which it did.
  2.  Eliminating membership dues. Again, the dues thing was outdated, and was quickly stopped. It has not hurt the club either, perhaps even saved it long term. The dues thing was ok when large companies, like Railroads paid for it, and wrote it off.  When the money came out of a person’s personal pocket, things became tougher.
  3.  Get techier. This was very important, and Todd TeBrink lead this process change.  A web page was started and run well for years by Jim Labit. It has changed some over the years but continues though I have not seen the numbers lately of people that visit it monthly.

We accomplished all of those quickly. The club survives today by taking in a little extra from a few events, and donations. We are a non for profit, so we bring just enough to keep us afloat, and since we have little expense, we are doing fine. Plus, it must be noted that even though the club gets a new President annually (Wendy Topp is now and is doing fine) Brad Reinhardt keeps the engine running. He is also the President of the LTNA, our national group.

The origin of this note continued— In the beginning, when I was President, I wrote one every month and it was well received. Then, the next year when my term ended, the next President did not seem to want to do it, so I said I will keep it going.

Why do I still write it? It has become a consistent way of promoting of all our Transportation Club events for that month or next. It also gives our website a current monthly note to put on it. It has evolved some too.  There was a time that I was interviewing club members, member spotlight, but that didn’t last long.

The monthly topic idea.  Most of the time I picked a transportation related topic, researched it, and put my 30 years of experience spin on it.  Sometimes current local events like the riots, weather, and covid thoughts were discussed. As I have said many times before, I view my note as a St. Louis area time capsule (sort of) of current regional local events. This is not to say I didn’t discuss national topics too. I wish more people would have read my covid thoughts and how to get through it by attacking it physically (my playbook).  Oh well. But I have tried to discuss transportation stuff most of the time.  

I have also tried to have a little fun with my note too. I have a weakness or soft spot for anyone saying they read my blog every month (I don’t hear that very often though!), or that they even look forward to or enjoy it!  When this happens, they will get a shout out or mention them and their company in my next letter every time.

That’s it for another note, have a great month, AL