Letters: Industry Talent, Texting and Tolling, Broker Bond

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Oct. 17 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Industry Talent Hunt

Accolades to you for the front-page feature article that was published in your Sept. 26 issue and headlined “Transportation Officials Urge National Effort to Attract Next Generation of Industry Talent.”

The deregulation of the trucking industry in 1980 resulted in the elimination of many management training programs in our industry. At the same time, the industry saw the introduction of new technology — and we continue to see technological advances, not the least of which is the introduction of electronic logs.



Shippers are demanding that truckers provide them with the ability to press a button at any given moment to know the exact location of their shipment so they can plan accordingly for the arrival of that shipment.

Unfortunately, the freight rates often do not match the demand for the sophisticated technology. And these technological advances also present the challenge of finding talent capable of fully utilizing the advanced technology we continue to see introduced to our industry.

The article provided great insight as to the advantages of training programs within our industry and how we can gain from coordinating these training programs with the various educational institutions.

This article should inspire our industry to reach out to educational institutions and technical schools for a mutual effort in meeting the need for talent we face currently. As was stated in the article, the result of such measures is a strong, knowledgeable workforce — and a steady supply of part-time workers who go on to become full-time drivers and management employees.

Jim Parham

President

Jim Parham & Associates Inc.

Lakeland, Fla.

Texting and Tolling

These are thoughts on two articles, the first one being “NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] Recommends Total Ban on Cellphone Use by Truckers,” which appeared on TTNews.com Sept. 19.

Why don’t you treat us like babies and slap our rears? We are professionals doing our business, which includes cellphone use.

What happens when the driver is lost and staring at a 12-foot overpass and can’t find the place with bum directions because his GPS device sent him the wrong way? What is the driver to do? Sit there and wait for a police officer? Sit there and tie traffic up? Or how about if he gets out of his truck and goes for a walk to see if he can get around the obstacle? And what if he comes back and the truck is stolen? Then what is the driver going to do?

Let’s get real. We use the cellphone for business, and to keep us awake and alert. We have a Bluetooth and both hands on the wheel. If you are going to ban cellphone use while in motion, ban it for all drivers’ safety’s sake.

I also would like to comment on the TTNews.com article from Sept. 30 headlined, “AAA Sues to Stop New York, New Jersey Toll Hikes.”

We as drivers ought to boycott New York City bridge crossings. You should cross at the Tappan Zee Bridge or the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge to get into New York City and pay the tolls on those bridges, which are still at the current fees.

Use the bridges going westbound — no toll fees incurred. We, as drivers, should demand $500 more over the freight bills to pay for their tolls, or just don’t go; make them come to New Jersey for their freight. See how long that lasts when someone can’t get their favorite product because it costs too much.

The same should go for the Baltimore bridge crossing fees. Boycott! Don’t take a bridge if you don’t have to.

Dan Gerster

President/Driver

DAG Trucking of Wi LLC

Oshkosh, Wis.

Broker Bond

Now that we have yet another surface transportation extension, it’s time for Congress to step up and finally offer the real deal to the president and the American people.

America needs a new deal to replace the current surface transportation legislation that has been in limbo since it expired in 2009.

Word has it on Capitol Hill, however, that proponents of the $100,000 broker bond legislation proposed in both the Senate and the House within the past year are now seeking to hide a tenfold bond increase within the new surface transportation bill — probably because they know their proposal lacks merit and will not pass as stand-alone legislation.

In its rush to finalize new, permanent legislation, I would caution Congress as a whole to beware of and reject any item like a $100,000 broker bond that would have a devastating effect on the industry as a whole, would hand control of the market over to the nation’s largest freight brokerages by eliminating competition and would hurt small brokers, independent owner-operators, carriers, shippers and consumers.

America deserves legislation that will promote a healthy economy. Those who would use the legislative process to seek personal financial gain at the detriment of the rest of us should be ashamed of their desperate, pathetic attempts to now sneak in such an anti-competitive measure.

James Lamb

President

Association of Independent Property Brokers & Agents

Morris Plains, N.J.

I own and operate a small freight brokerage in Oregon and just celebrated our third year in business. Despite the economy, we have shown steady growth and are self-sufficient.

I am very troubled by the repeated attempts to increase the broker bond to $100,000. My small company cannot survive if that increase happens, and I believe many small freight brokerages would go out of business. 

Our customers and our trucking partners would have to work with the large freight brokerages that would have a virtual monopoly on the freight industry — probably leading to higher shipping costs to customers and lower rates to trucking companies.

Existing legislation should be able to weed out dishonest brokers, and I do wish more trucking companies checked out freight brokers more thoroughly. We must screen our customers to ensure we are paid — and we do. Thus, we have a very good record of paying our trucking partners and no uncollected revenue from our customers. 

I do hope our legislators understand the effect of a broker bond increase on an already fragile economy.

Debbie McCoy

Owner

North America Transport Systems LLC

Beaverton, Ore.

 

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