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April 21, 2014 4:00 AM, EDT

Letters: Hours of Service, Carriers’ Dilemma

These Letters to the Editor appear in the April 21 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Hours of Service

When I received my March 24 copy of Transport Topics and saw the front-page article with the words “Level the Playing Field” in the headline [‘Fleets Say E-Log Proposal Will Level Playing Field,’ 3-24, p. 1], I was immediately angered. What do all the big fleets want? It appears to me that they want to upset the field completely in their favor.

I am a small-fleet operator (10 tractors and 15 trailers) based in upstate New York. I have been involved in the trucking industry since 1948, and most of those years were as an owner-operator. I applied for and received my own authority in 1982 after one of the larger companies I was leased to was less than honest with me. I have driven more than 4 million miles and never hurt anyone.

How can the large companies say that the field is not level? They pay less for trucks, parts, fuel and insurance. By all their actions, they just want the little guy to go away.

The hours-of-service regulations are totally ridiculous. We have human beings driving our trucks and not robots, as some politicians and fleet owners seem to think. I know of many safe operators who typically took a three-hour or four-hour nap in the afternoon. Now they have to drive when sleepy or fatigued or lose all those hours.

The lawmakers need to wake up and listen to real truck drivers about safety.

Herman Schinn

President

Schinn Transport Inc.

Camden, N.Y.

Carriers’ Dilemma

So, let me get this straight: On most palletized loads, the shipper loads and the consignee unloads — except when you go to a grocery house. In those cases, the shipper loads and the consignee has a lumper service that will charge the carrier anywhere between $100 and $300 to unload.

Is this some kind of scam? Doesn’t the consignee have a forklift and employees?

Every trucking company owner I’ve talked with feels the same way. The carrier pays the lumper and hopes to recoup the money within 30 to 60 to 90 days, so the trucker has become a bank that lays out money for the shipper but collects no interest or administration fee.

This isn’t based on any particular newspaper story or incident, it’s just something that’s been on my mind for some time, based on what trucking companies go through every day to get their trailers unloaded — and then waiting months to get the money back.

Am I the only one that finds this strange? Why can’t the shipper and consignee work this out together and leave the carrier out of it?

Norm Seeger

Partner

Seeger Associates LLC

Newtown, Pa.