By Todd Spencer
In my years in trucking, I have never seen the mainstream press show so much interest in trucking. Many of their stories are predicting that added costs from surcharges will show up in the price of consumer goods.
They certainly will, but a surprising number of these stories are also reporting what truckers are saying about how fuel surcharge revenues are getting partially or completely ripped off by the folks in the middle.
While truckers are virtually unanimous in their disdain, the reality is when a trucker gets robbed in this fashion, the shippers are scammed, too, as well as the consumers. This method of doing business should not be acceptable to anyone.
It won’t be easy to fix the things that have put truckers in this predicament. Many of the economic issues hitting all at once, such as U.S. dependency on foreign oil, a tight petroleum market, a slow economy and low freight levels, are so complex they’ll require long-term, painstaking solutions.
We must clear out all the underhanded antics and old habits that have allowed brokers to exploit truckers and small businesses. Trucking transactions have to change in order to ensure that small-business truckers have the same tools the mega carriers in the industry have.
OOIDA is pushing for legislation that includes a mandatory pass-through of fuel surcharges to the person buying the fuel, including full disclosure of surcharge information by everyone involved, including brokers and carriers.
So while it’s a rotten economy right now, the good news is you’ve got the attention of the press and some diligent lawmakers. Let’s turn this interest into a real, sustainable solution to a long-term problem. Call those people who represent you in DC and keep calling them until we get some help. And when they throw a few crumbs, don’t stop calling. Keep it up until we get long-term relief. LL