Today’s Pickup: Story of Puerto Rico’s truck drivers on strike debunked

U.S. Army members load supplies on a trailer for delivery in Puerto Rico. ( Photo: U.S. Army/Raymond Piper )

Good day,

Following the devastation Hurricane Maria delivered to Puerto Rico, there have been many places to levy blame as the island nation has been slow to recover. An aging electric grid that was destroyed, a country mired in debt that has been unable to maintain basic infrastructure, an arguably slow government response. One segment that received blame, unfairly, was the nation’s truck drivers.

When President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday, he repeated a claim that the country’s truck drivers were not delivering relief supplies because they had gone out on strike.

“Now the roads are cleared, communication is starting to come back, we need their truck drivers,” Trump said. “Their drivers have to start driving trucks. We have to do that, so at a local level they have to give us more help.”

It was a claim that was widely circulated on social media and even reported by Fox News’s Julie Banderas on “America’s News Headquarters” last week, according to a report in Salon.

Multiple news outlets and fact-checkers have since debunked the claim, but the myth has continued. Fox News’ Shepared Smith took to the airwaves on Wednesday to put the issue to rest – everyone hopes.

“Of course, the president mentioned the truckers,” Smith said. “The biggest problem on the island is distribution of supplies, we’re told. Getting needed goods to people outside San Juan has been extremely challenging. According to our reporters on the ground, many of those who would move the supplies have lost their homes and vehicles in the storm. Some of the truckers can’t be reached because there’s no communication working in so many areas still.”

“Reports that a union truckers’ strike added to the problems are not true,” he added. “They are, in fact, fake news, spread largely, it appears, by a website called Conservative Treehouse and then over Twitter and Facebook. Again, there is no trucker’s strike. That’s fake news. The truckers in Puerto Rico are victims too.”

Did you know?

The global logistics market surpassed $8.2 trillion in 2016, according to Armstrong & Associates. The global 3PL market was $802 billion.


“Every state is a little bit different. Their rural needs and urban needs are different and providing tools that allow them to implement projects that allows them to maximize their dollars for a specific project is really the key ingredient for them. Tolls work in some states and tolls don’t work in some states. And that’s true in the tools, too. Just as I would say P3s work in some states — it’s a good tool — in some areas they don’t work.”

Paul Trombino, nominee to lead the Federal Highway Administration

In other news:

Tolls, P3 partnerships on table for infrastructure projects says FHWA nominee

Testifying before a Senate panel, Federal Highway Administrator nominee Paul Trombino said that tolls and public-private partnerships are viable options to generate infrastructure funding. (Transport Topics)

3PL market could top $1.1 trillion

A new report from Armstrong & Associates says the third-party logistics market could top $1.1 trillion in revenue within five years. (Heavy Duty Trucking)

Auburn University conducts platooning test

Auburn University in association with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center recently conducted a platooning test of vehicles crossing the U.S./Canada border. (Fleet Owner)

Cummins Westport testing low emissions natural gas engines in ports

Cummins Westport is testing a low emissions natural gas engine in drayage trucks ports in Los Angeles, with plans to add 16 more vehicles to the test. (

Dems push new infrastructure bill

With Republicans seemingly pushing any infrastructure improvement plans into 2018, Democrats are seizing on the opportunity and introducing a $500 million plan to boost highway funding. (Supply Chain Brain)

Final Thoughts

The myth that Puerto Rico relief supplies were not being distributed because of a truck drivers’ strike in that country have been proven false, but it continues nonetheless. Truck drivers are an easy target, but an unfair one, as many of them are among the island’s residents who no longer have homes, clothes, and clean water.  

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.