Tiss the Season………….. For Freight that is!

Tiss the season? You might think by that headline that I was writing this article in early December. Actually it is March and it is the season for freight! February saw the inventory blues, when retailers of all kinds figure out how much inventory they actually have after the holiday season. Freight usually slows to a crawl just after the new year, but two months later, the shelves need to be stocked for the spring season. By the way, did you notice your fuel prices climb about .50 cents per gallon over the past three weeks?

It is time to move everything from lawn mowers, rakes, potting soil, lumber, tools and everything in between. If you work for a company that tells you that freight is slow right now, you need to go to work for a company that can’t get you home because freight is so hot! In my years as an OTR and regional truck driver, I have had dozens of conversations with managers and shippers of companies who move a lot of freight. Instead of just being the usual truck driver, I try to start up conversations with those people in charge and try to get the pulse of how shipping forecasts look for the coming months. The reason I do this is because I have had several dispatchers who are either too busy or don’t have a clue to what they are supposed to do as a dispatcher. I remember a dispatcher who didn’t have a load for me, so I decided to call the traffic manager of a company I knew was near my location. He told me he had more freight than he knew what to do with and said he needed trucks asap. I called my dispatcher back and told him of the company who had a load and I was sent to that location within a couple hours to pick up a load! Sometimes drivers can be an asset to their companies.

Right now, in the greater northwest, companies are searching high and low for companies to move their freight. I know of at least seven shippers within 200 miles of my location who have loads to all points of the nation! They are competing for trucks because they have to get their products out for spring planting and home remodeling seasons. Good products that are moving out of the northwest right now that are also paying good rates include: Wood Chips, Bark, Potting Soil, Lumber, Tile, Brick, Roofing Material, Paint, Fertilizer and other items that the big box stores need to stock their garden center shelves. Shippers are looking for flatbeds, drop decks, dry vans, refers and any other piece of equipment they can load 24 pallets into or onto.

If you are sitting in a truck stop right now waiting for your dispatcher to get a load for you, after reading this article, get online and look at the load boards. If you are in western Montana or the Portland, Oregon area right now, there are loads ready to be shipped. Also, the northwest is famous for it’s paper mills and saw mills. Paper is always a great mover and dry vans can load plywood out of Medford! Don’t let your dispatcher or broker let you sit! If you can’t get a load out of the northwest right now, fire your dispatcher or broker and hire someone who knows where the loads are moving.

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