Today’s Pickup: The colorful trucks of Pakistan

( Photo: Annabel Symington )

Good day,

A job that once was celebrated by Americans, the role of truck driver has become something less today. No longer does it have that mystical quality that spawned movies and songs about the open road.

In Pakistan, the image of the truck driver is on full display on their trucks, each designed to represent their region and personal traits. The old rigs, often 1960s and 1970s imports from other nations, are given new life. Drivers care so much for their vehicles that they have become pieces of art that are now celebrated around the world.

“We, the drivers of Khyber, Mohmand and other tribal regions like flowers on the edge of the vehicles,” truck driver Haji Ali Bahadur, says. “The people of Swat, South Waziristan and Kashmir region like portraits of mountains and different wild animals.”

Each vehicle is adorned with art that turns the vehicle into a rolling mural. It’s a source of pride for the drivers, who use the vehicle’s canvas space to display local pride.

Did you know?

According to NATSO, current businesses such as gas stations, restaurants, convenience stores, truckstops, and hotels along interstate highways contribute $22.5 billion annually in taxes to state and local communities.


“If the government gets in the business of selling food and fuel or other commercial services, local communities will suffer as tax revenues shift to the state; hard-working business owners will lose their customer base; blind entrepreneurs will be out of work and truck drivers will have a harder time finding a safe place to rest. Commercializing Interstate rest areas would create far more problems than it will solve.”

– Lisa Mullings, NATSO president and CEO, on why the group opposes plans to privatize interstate rest stops.

 In other news:

Rest stop privatization plan draws opposition

Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam and other members of the National Association of Truck Stop Operators association have come out in opposition to President’s Trumps plan to allow privatization of interstate rest stops, citing the potential to hurt local businesses. (Times Free Press)

Working alongside the robots

Automation is growing, but for those in the supply chain, from dock workers to truck drivers, it’s unlikely to replace their jobs, which still involve human decision making. (

Electric trucks and tires

The rise of electric futures will lead to other innovations within the supply chain, including tires, says Michelin. (CCJ)

Talk, not tariffs the path to better trade deals

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is expected to play a significant role in NAFTA talks, says that diplomacy is the way to better trade deals. (Wall Street Journal)

California cities testing electric garbage trucks

Los Angeles and Sacramento are each running pilot programs with electric refuse trucks, in the hopes that the vehicles will prove successful in daily operation. (Waste360)

Final Thoughts

The president’s plan to privatize interstate rest stops and allow them to sell food and other supplies has the potential to pull tax revenue away from local communities, according to NATSO. The group may have a point, and it is clearly an issue that needs more exploration of its impact.

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.