Trucking often gets a bad rep. The media paints the industry in a bad light and ambulance chasers constantly advertise about how evil the "Big trucking companies are" Could you imagine what these fools would do without the trucking and logistics industry? Maybe the "Texas Hammer" would feel differently if one day trucks stopped delivering to his community.
After all, politicians like Bernie Sanders have talked about taking trucks off the road. Maybe he assumes that goods are shipped to his local Wal-Mart by train? When was the last time you saw a train pull up to the mall, Walgreens, or your local Target store? Never. Thats right, the trucking industry is vital to the success and sophistication of our economy.
One of the things also fails to be appreciated is how the industry is also vital in times of need. As a nation, we have come to expect that our government will respond to help-out during a crisis. What is under-appreciated is how much coordination goes on between small and large corporations and the trucking/logistics industry. Thousands of trucks have been deployed into Texas and Florida to assist in relief efforts. Many of these trucks were ordered before the storms even hit. Bottled water, medical supplies, generators, food, batteries, and gas-cans are all among the supplies that were ready and available as soon as the debris cleared.
Retailers like H.E.B., Wal-Mart, Lowes, etc. have all provided a lifeline of relief supplies that is only possible through the efforts and intelligence of our logistics network. Consumer package goods companies across the spectrum have also stepped up. As one of our contributors highlighted, during a hurricane, Pop-tarts are the most consumed food. You can bet that Kellogg's ramped up production of its tasty treats both before the hurricane and afterwards. Nestle Waters and Niagara were in high production, running extra shifts to meet demand. Ab InBev stopped brewing beer at some of its plants and instead switched to water. This is not something these companies do because they are forced to by the government, they do it because they are good stewards of capitalism.
The trucking industry was also ready in-force. Videos and blog posts are all over the internet showing how impressive and prepared these companies truly are. CFI and Celadon also stepped up and showed their eagerness to help. In fact, some companies went beyond transportation and worked on food and relief drives, donating not only transportation services, but also goods.
Transforce International (TFI), the parent of CFI donated $250,000 towards the relief efforts. In a press release signed by the TFI International President Alain Bedard, he confirmed the donation. “TFI International, once again, is doing its part to help with a donation of $250,000. TFI is honored to support our communities during such difficult times. It is important that we come together to help mitigate Irma’s terrible consequences.”
The American Logistics Aid Network called for companies across the trucking landscape to step up and respond. They succeeded in turning their connections to get relief transported in cities and towns where they are needed the most.
Bedard acknowledged the kind of impact that Hurricane Irma could possibly inflict before it even hit the anticipated areas as he noted in the press release. “Hurricane Irma is the strongest hurricane ever to hit Florida and the Caribbean. The hurricane has left behind catastrophic devastation, starting what could become a complex, multi-country relief and recovery effort.”
In the same press release, Bedard called out to contribute whatever they can to the relief efforts. “We encourage you to do your part as well. Please consider donating to the Hurricane Irma Appeal online at www.redcross.org.” He gave credit where it should be due by praising the American Red Cross for knowing how to utilize donations efficiently. “The American Red Cross is working around the clock to provide safe shelter and comfort for the millions of people impacted by this latest disaster. It is feared that the effects of this catastrophe will linger for months, if not longer.
Werner also did its part. Working closely with Home Depot, they staged a convoy of goods that were escorted by the police into the state of Florida.
“Our Werner associates and professional drivers are honored to have the opportunity to provide assistance to those affected by Hurricane Irma,” said Werner's President and Chief Executive Officer Derek Leathers.
Werner Enterprises coordinated convoy efforts with The Home Depot’s Hurricane Command Center and Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi. In total, Werner sent more than 100 trucks to support the hurricane relief efforts.
Celadon also mentioned having over 120 trucks deployed for on-site relief efforts in Texas. Covenant was also very active. In fact, executives from the company were scheduled to be at an FTR conference this week, but were not able to show because they were wrapped up in working on relief efforts.