The Last Word

Aug. 1, 1999
Drivers really "waiters"? A study by the Truckload Carriers Assn. found that the typical dry van operator has five stops to load and unload every week. This includes 2.4 hours pe r stop waiting to load, 2.0 hours per stop waiting to unload, 1.1 hours per stop actually loading, and 1.2 hours unloading. That's 33.5 hours per week. Maybe "driver" is the wrong name for the job."A truly unique business

Drivers really "waiters"? A study by the Truckload Carriers Assn. found that the typical dry van operator has five stops to load and unload every week. This includes 2.4 hours pe r stop waiting to load, 2.0 hours per stop waiting to unload, 1.1 hours per stop actually loading, and 1.2 hours unloading. That's 33.5 hours per week. Maybe "driver" is the wrong name for the job.

"A truly unique business plan is very rare indeed anymore, except perhaps for the person working in his or her garage someplace. If it's a pretty good idea, you can just bet someone else has already thought of it, too. What differentiates a company is the execution."- Tom Weisz, CEO, TMW Systems

Riding the rails Intermodal rail traffic for the first quarter of the year grew 4.5% compared to 1998 numbers, according to the Intermodal Assn. of North America. Container volume was up 6.4% for the quarter, while trailer-on-flat-car (TOFC) volume only grew by 0.5%. Responsibility for TOFC traffic also continues to shift away from rail companies as fleets and marketing companies increase traffic volumes and rail-controlled volumes drop. At the same time, shippers continue to shift from 40- and 45-ft. piggyback units and to 48- and 53-ft. trailers for their intermodal moves.

Good words for good buddies I just read your editorial concerning the Trucker Buddy program (FO - 6/99). Your comments are right on target . . . My wife is a third-grade teacher who has participated in this program for the last few years with great success. Her assigned drivers this year were a husband and wife team from TMC in Des Moines. They wrote to the class an average of three times a week, sending both letters and postcards. While this is not typical of most Trucker Buddies, it indeed shows that drivers benefit as much or more than the students. - N.F. Jackson

Diesel Fuel Price Report As expected, global oil markets blew off some steam in mid-July, with crude dropping some $2 bbl to just over $19 bbl. The downturn appears to be a correction, rather than the beginning of a new trend. Wholesale diesel prices should backtrack slightly with crude, but retail truckstop prices haven't matched many of the wholesale increases, and brisk demand could keep street prices from slipping lower with crude and rack diesel.

It's a safe bet that diesel costs three months from now will be higher than current numbers. Price dips this month, however, could represent a buying opportunity for fleets that want to hedge costs for the remainder of 1999. - Tom Kloza, OPIS Transportation

Provided by OPIS Transportation. For fuel prices & analysis call 1-800-929-4824, ext. 2644 or visit www.opisnet.com/transportation/

Get the last word in by sending us your comments, observations, and opinions. Mail: P.O. Box 4211, Stamford, Conn. 06907-0211. E-mail: [email protected]. Fax: 203-358-5819. Telephone: 800-776-1246, ext. 107

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