Letters: Brokers Revisited, Cartoon Kudos, Driver Fatigue

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Aug. 24 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Brokers Revisited

This is in response to the letter in the July 27 issue with the headline “Brokers Revisited” (click here for previous letter): Your complaint is not justified with me.

No. 1: For 47 years, I have been shipping refrigerated products throughout the United States and Mexico, including 17 years while owning my own brokerage.

No. 2: I am responsible for a fleet of 60 tractors, 60 trailers and 60 drivers, including payroll, safety and compliance, purchase of equipment and maintenance.

No. 3: I ran five of my own trucks.

No. 4: I publish my own tariff and stick by its rates. My tariff is 10% to 15% above the carrier level, so the carrier can submit his tariff to me, and the rates are paid. All eight of my employees are college graduates and properly trained to protect the carrier or independent owner-operator and the shipper.

No. 5: We provide $150,000 for cargo insurance — yes, $2 million liability and $150,000 workers’ compensation insurance to protect our shippers.

No. 6: Yes, I agree there are a lot of bad brokers out there, but the carrier also is responsible for acknowledging these bums and turning the freight down.

These brokers also hurt my business and my company’s name, and I also am getting upset with it. One of our owner-operators took a six-stop load from New York City to the West Coast for $2,800 with one of the biggest brokers in the business. He should not have hauled that load.

No. 7: For the past eight months, the carriers have been cutting rates like madmen, and most of themhave been the big carriers. The brokers have been put in a bad spot and forced to lower their rates, too.

Please look into the carrier mirror, and you will see that it’s your own industry doing the damage.

Al Martineck Sr.
All Together Transportation Systems Inc.
Joliet, Ill.

I wanted to comment on the “Brokers Revisited” letter.

I think the writer of that letter should understand that 90% of brokers’ licenses are held by people who have Motor Carrier Authority and are “truck brokers” by definition.

Non-asset-based brokers know who butters their bread — truckers. Don’t lump us non-asset-based brokers with the rest of the group, because we are your fellow truckers struggling to make ends meet. OK?

David Dwinell
Master Broker
MC 360363
Youngtown, Ariz.

Cartoon Kudos

The editorial cartoon artwork is a highlight of Transport Topics each week. Two stand out in my mind.

One is from fuel-crisis time, where one trucker says to another, “Here’s another load, delivered on time, safely and without a government bailout.” I think that was when the airlines were getting buckets of money because somehow they are “too big to fail.”

Another that stands out is Shade’s “A World Without Trucks” in the July 27 issue (click here for cartoon). That cartoon should be reproduced and distributed to Congress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc. I’ve said for years that if you think having trucks in the way on the road is bad, try not having big trucks and instead having 40 pickup trucks hauling the load of one tractor-trailer.

Keep up the good work.

Danny Schnautz
Clark Freight Lines
Pasadena, Texas

[Editor’s Note: Phil Shade Kightlinger is an artist and graphic designer who draws cartoons for Transport Topics. The cartoons are a joint effort of Shade and the TT editorial staff, which produces the concepts of the cartoons.]

Driver Fatigue

I’ve been following the driver fatigue debate and lawsuit with great interest since it was first revealed. It seems everyone is missing the obvious point here: Drivers are encouraged, if not outright forced, to find “creative” ways in which to keep driving.

Why? It can be traced back to shippers and receivers who demand on-time deliveries and pickups, but then keep drivers waiting for hours after their appointment time.

Then there are the warehouses that require drivers to either unload their truck themselves or be on the dock at all times. This can, at times, be a couple of hours, depending on warehouse breaks and the motivation of the people doing the loading and unloading.

For the most part, all of this is unpaid time for the driver — and also takes away from his or her resting time. As a result, the driver — who could have been resting — is now very tired and starting out again, trying to make up time to get to the next appointment.

The other problem is this: A driver can never get into a sleeping/awake rhythm because of the varied appointment times. He might have an 8 a.m. appointment one day, and then the next one is at 2 a.m., forcing him to sleep during periods he normally would be driving.

Until this issue can be rectified, you are always going to have tired drivers, even if their logs are legal and they have been doing everything correctly.

Too much enforcement always is placed on the driver and not where it really belongs. Here’s an example: I went to a food warehouse and, although I was on time, I was forced to sit inside, on a wooden bench, for six hours, until my name was called to be unloaded. Try not to be fatigued after that.

F. Gregory King
Truckers Road Enterprises
Union City, Mich.


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