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Check Call: ‘Member your first day, brokers?

Ukraine’s impact to freight brokers | People’s Convoy rolls on

Check Call the Show. News and Analysis for 3PLs and Freight Brokers.

Hot Take


’Member when it was your first day in a chair trying to broker freight? Yeah, good times or not. After talking to a lot of people in the brokerage and logistics world, everyone’s first days started out pretty similarly. 

“Hi, welcome aboard. Here’s your desk. Good luck!” 

We’ve recently covered the importance of training and setting people up for success, but what about things you wish you had known when you first started? Taking a trip down memory lane can help those who are new to the industry avoid rookie mistakes. 

I thought, what better way to learn from rookie mistakes than to ask some freight veterans? Our very own Thomas Wasson, enterprise trucking carrier expert, weighs in with some of his best pro tips for those in the industry, covering a multitude of areas. 

For the dispatchers and fleet managers, place value in multitasking. Don’t be afraid to keep working while on the line with a driver, or to put them on a brief hold. Home in those speed problem-solving skills: Try to figure out what the core issue is within the first few sentences. 

Never underestimate the power of your customer. Know what facilities are work-in, which ones will turn drivers away if they’re a minute late, and when a problem is worth escalating as well as who can best handle it.

Know thy market: If load balances are crazy, communicate early which loads have capacity and which ones don’t. Bad news spoils like a rotten egg — it gets worse as the day progresses. Best to tell folks early. Taking 10- to 15-minute chunks to focus on only email or instant messages or load assignment/reassignment is a great way to deal with the stress of always being messaged for stuff.

And the most important thing for everyone is to take walks. Things mess up often and frequently. Taking a 10- or 15-minute walk or break can help overcome short-term frustrations.

These pro tips aren’t just useful at the individual rep level. Make them a common practice. Everyone throughout the day faces aggravating situations. Instead of firing back a “per my previous email,” take a break, take a lap around the building, go talk to someone and stop yourself from rage typing to levels that could break your keyboard. 

Quick Hit

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

The Ukrainian people have provided countless services to the 3PL and freight brokerage world. Many companies have used Ukraine to nearshore operations. The people have served as track and trace, dispatchers, brokers, auditors — you name it, the Ukrainian people have helped out. Living in the middle of a war doesn’t really make going into the office a priority. Some still are able to, but others have said they can’t get loads booked in between air raid sirens and evacuating to bomb shelters. 

Landstar has stopped all operations in the wake of Russia’s invasion. If you call the number there, it just rings and rings. Trucking companies from all over the country are supporting their employees stranded in Ukraine by organizing firewood, diapers, formula, etc. Anything someone needs that might be stuck at a border they’re working to make sure is available.
As entire sections of the logistics community are taken offline and those who are able can cover the loads stuck playing catch-up, it’s important to take the time to educate shippers and explain that they might want to add a day or two to their tender lead times as we lose people who are able to work. Find FreightWaves coverage of Russia-Ukraine’s effect on the supply chain here.

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

The People’s Convoy is still going strong to Washington. A collection of drivers and supporters across the country are converging on the nations capital March 5th. The original convoy attempted to cross the country as one, but instead changed to have groups from all over the country meet in DC on the 5th. 

Convoy organizers are planning a peaceful route to Washington, with other truckers planning to meet them in D.C. as opposed to making the full 2,500-mile journey. The drivers are operating on their own free will and direction. The convoy is not planning any major service disruptions. However, if you have loads delivering into Washington on Friday and Saturday, advise drivers of additional delays within the city.
Federal law enforcement officials are planning to build a fence around the U.S. Capitol out of an abundance of caution ahead of the planned demonstrations.

Market Check


Some drivers who aren’t riding the entire way with the convoy are planning to meet the group in D.C. with a load. As a result, I assumed we would see a decline for inbound tender rejections heading into the capital. However, it appears to be business as usual. 

The inbound tender rejections are pretty up and down but consistently between 15% and 20%. The Freedom Convoy might add some delay to shipments traveling through the Washington area, but not days worth, just a few hours at most.

How’d the lemonade stand do?

In this week’s lemonade stand, we’re looking to the skies. Expeditors International had a rough couple of weeks with a significant cyberattack following the stock price falling more than 19%. Expeditors had $5.39 billion in revenue and its diluted earnings per share rose to $2.66. The company stock price did fall to 4.48% on the day that earnings were released as it failed to hit the forecast $920 million in revenue.

O Canada, you lookin’ good. The country’s largest airline, Air Canada, brought in nearly a third of its record $1.2 billion in cargo revenue for 2021 in the fourth quarter. The company is hoping to blow that number out of the water this year as it places greater emphasis on freight service. Fourth-quarter cargo revenue jumped 70% to $386 million, more than 2.5 times above pre-pandemic levels. Air Canada has made some swaps to provide eight dedicated weekly flights from Toronto to Seoul, South Korea. 

The more you know

Mary O'Connell

Former pricing analyst, supply chain planner, and broker/dispatcher turned creator of the newsletter and podcast Check Call. Which gives insights into the world around 3PLs and Freight brokers. She will talk your ear off about anything and everything if you let her. Expertise in operations, LTL pricing and procurement, flatbed operations, dry van, tracking and tracing, reality tv shows and how to turn a stranger into your new best friend.