Light at the End of the Tunnel

Another month is here, so it is time for the March 2021 edition of Al’s Corner. Next big event will be the 114th Annual Dinner again held at the fabulous MAC Club downtown.  April 22nd is the date. With Covid-19 vaccines ramping up, we should be a little safer by then, you would hope. See you there!

Terrible Weather—The craziness continues from last year as vicious winter storms plowed through most of the U.S. in mid-February. Northern states are always more prepared for winter as it happens every year, the southern states, not so much.  Believe me, for us here in the St. Louis area it was tough sledding, so to speak, as it was SOOOO cold. Texas, it seems got the worst of it. The root cause of most of the damage was due to extremely poor planning by the Texas power companies. Wind Turbines that operate year-round in northern states without issue, froze up. In the beginning, the wind source was being blamed a lot for it on one news outlet. Quickly, it became clear that the biggest issue was the natural gas wells froze too.  Natural gas, and coal add up to nearly 80% of the total power produced there. All of this coupled with the problem that the power companies had little reserves stored up based of the normal need of the season, was devasting. In a nutshell, the big problem was with poor planning and lack of preventative investment. What it caused was 4-5 days with millions not having power, and ultimately water shortages, broken pipes, contamination, even death too.  Hopefully, in the future Texas and other southern states will invest in winterizing products.  Near us, in Memphis, I heard that they only have 8, that is right 8, snowplows! But, they also share with state owned plows too, so they got by, but barely. Wow!  Also, from my sources, not surprisingly Arkansas, and Oklahoma really struggled with the snow and ice more so than northern states did.

Some Bright Spots—Ok, enough of the bad stuff, let us talk about some fun things.  First, Brad Reinhardt celebrated birthday number 52 on February 22. He always downplays it, but still Happy Birthday business partner, hope you have many more!!

Vaccines are really starting to be available, so maybe normal life (or close to it) may be coming in the next 3 months or so.

My wife Kathy will (after 3 tries) retire from the Fantastic River Roads Sales and Leasing on March 19th.  I know that she will miss Justin, Jimmy, Russ, the 2 Nicks, and Brandy. She has worked there for 8 years and it appears that Laura, her replacement is going to do great.  Kathy also worked in Banking for 25 years, and 5 years for Pat Komeshak, who is the BEST, and owns Swansea, IL Chiropractic 618-236-3600.  I love my free but not so subtle business plugs!!!

I give Kathy a lot of credit for supporting me in our business.  Jodi (Brad’s incredible wife) does too.  One funny note from her employment years was that when we went from Re-trans (she helped us with admin stuff) to USA Truck they did not allow spouses, so Brad had to fire her!!!  Congrats Kathy (her favorite color is purple), you deserve it beautiful wife!  Perhaps with the extra time you will finally beat me in golf again, been awhile!!!

Congrats as well to my “old” friend Ed “$3” Berger on his well-deserved retirement!  Have fun Big Eddy, I know you will.

Trucking Update—The terrible weather, and issues in the southern states, has put stress on an already shaky trucking supply market. The way I see it, for 4-5 days shipping stopped for 75% of the nation. At one point, I heard that every state experienced a temperature under freezing. This included Hawaii.  Amazing!

So, when stuff like this happens an already tight market for truck availability stiffens further due to shippers and receivers playing catch up. Plus, in the case of Texas, extra shipments of water, and building materials suck up more capacity.  Couple that with an economy that seems to be on the rise, demand goes up causing rates to go up, when equipment supply shrinks. Hopefully this a temporary deal.   

That is it for me, hope you have a great month and wish me luck on getting my 2 vaccines shots.

Al Hursey President Rockfarm St. Louis

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