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Good riddance to cheaters

With transparency and tight capacity, carriers will hold shippers accountable

Cheaters have no place in our industry. No, I am not referring to drivers that have been operating without ELDs. Nor I am referring to the hours of service violators (can you blame them?). Find me a single executive in the space saying they would adhere to the H.O.S. schedule if it weren’t mandated.

I would bet all of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin holdings that not a single fleet exec would voluntarily agree to these rules. They were constructed by bureaucrats trying to be politically expedient, rather than scientifically prudent.

No, the ELD fight is over. Probably for the best. And everyone is playing by the same set of rules (except the livestock haulers–and good on you for winning that fight). Maybe the industry would be better aligned on getting rid of these obnoxious HOS rules if everyone had to adhere to them.

The cheaters I am talking about are the companies and individuals that have been screwing our industry’s most important assets: the fleet operator and driver.

Large enterprise fleets and owner operators face many of the same challenges in the market, except the enterprise fleets have a lot more leverage. The owner operators have been taking the brunt of the issues in the market, because they have historically lacked freight choice or knowledge on which customers to avoid.

Technology will bring transparency and tight capacity will bring leverage. Carriers have never had more leverage on the market than they do right now. Companies like Dock 411 are creating a “TripAdvisor” of shippers and consignees, helping drivers better understand the last thousand yards of a load. Once the firm builds up enough data, they will be able to map this information and hopefully provide a real-time cost scenario for a specific load. This is still a while out, but their work is promising.

Shippers and warehouse operators who have been using load boards to tender fugly freight will be called out and forced to pay market prices for capacity and penalties for having poorly run operations.

Pain points like driver assist without pay, detention without collections, long wait times, illegal transit times, shippers that coerce drivers to operate illegally and unsafely–shippers should be held accountable for these.

Shippers that operate clean operations, pay detention when warranted, and are not trying to treat their RFPs as their rate ceiling while actually tendering committed loads into the spot market for lower prices–all should be rewarded with more consistent capacity and lower prices. Plus, FreightWaves would build a statue to these traffic managers. They are the saints of the industry and deserve to be recognized.

Carriers now have a near-time map of rates in the market through the efforts of DAT. While aggregated rates are never perfect, the benchmark index of the industry should provide leverage to any owner operator or fleet executive wanting to understand the freight market.

Blockchain is coming as well. And with this, massive accountability. The shippers, brokers, and carriers that operate in the dark will be called out. Things like payment history, wait times, in transit change times, etc. will all be immediately easy to reference. Organizations like BiTA are bringing all types of industry firms together that believe in fair and transparent play.

We at FreightWaves are doing our part as well. We have quietly assembled 35 of the smartest freight industry executives and analysts in the space to understand what is happening in real time.  Our team has three PhDs, four CFAs, and twelve Masters degrees among us. We source data from over 150 technical sources, looking for patterns and identifying major issues in the freight market.

All of this information is turned into real-time commentary to help over 250,000 readers each month understand the freight markets. Subscribe to stay up to date. It’s free, and together we can hold the cheaters accountable.

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