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Check Call: Let’s get ready to rumble

Welcome to Check Call, our corner of the internet for all things 3PL, freight broker and supply chain. Check Call the podcast comes out every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. EST. Catch up on previous episodes here. If this was forwarded to you, sign up for Check Call the newsletter here.

Inside this edition: FTC proposes to ban noncompetes; the nonshortage shortage of medicine; and Estes moves to hand down the family business. 


The time has arrived. The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a rule to ban noncompete clauses in contracts and moved to the public comment period. That means anyone can make a comment on this rule, either in favor or against, and the FTC will review it. Comments can be submitted anonymously, just in case you were curious. 

The proposed rule seeks to ban any new noncompetes as well as existing agreements. One important note is that it does not apply to any nonsolicit agreements — strictly noncompete agreements. The proposed rule in its entirety can be found here. 

In the first four hours of the comment section being open, it gained over 300 submissions. Currently it’s sitting at over 700 comments with 57 days left in the window. Having sifted through a lot of comments — maybe with some popcorn in hand — there is an overwhelming amount of support for banning noncompetes. Wherever you land on the topic, that’s your business. But you should still have a say as the freight brokerage world is littered with noncompetes. Comments can be filed here — and don’t forget you can be anonymous too.

If the FTC does ban noncompetes, it might not be time to celebrate right away as there likely will be a plethora of lawsuits and some appeals. However, it does provide a light at the end of the tunnel for those who feel they are trapped in a job they no longer want because they would have to leave logistics entirely to switch to a different field, likely taking a pay cut, for a year just to not get slapped with a big fine. 

People have strong opinions on this, so as this develops, let me know if you find a spicy comment. So far my favorite includes the phrase, “byzantine patchwork of employment laws across our 50 states.” No idea who this person is, but their Scrabble game has to be on point.

Digital Mom Blog

Don’t be sick. It’s never really a great time to get sick. But if you can avoid it for a little while longer, that would be ideal. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, what started as a shortage of children’s Tylenol and Motrin has morphed into a pseudo-shortage of all cold and flu medicine. In what seems to be common practice with all nationwide shortages, the government has an opinion. 

The Food and Drug Administration has not declared an official shortage of medicine since there hasn’t been any supply chain manufacturing issues. Manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson have gone on record saying there is no shortage, but the increase in demand has left them all scrambling to keep up. 

Shipping pharmaceuticals has taken on another layer of complexity as we enter year 10 of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act. It’s supposed to be the year where all partners need to comply with requirements for a fully electronic system for tracking and tracing drug products. However, the state of readiness of individual manufacturers, repackagers, wholesale distributors, 3PL providers and dispensers remains a mixed bag. If medical shipping is your game, you might want to brush up on these standards. 

SONAR TRAC Market Dashboard

TRAC Thursday. This week’s TRAC lane of the week is from Seattle to Salt Lake City. What seems like a short trip is actually 932 miles. Outbound tender rejections are basically nonexistent in Seattle as they sit at 1.5%. Just about every contracted load is getting picked up. On the flip side, outbound tender rejections in Salt Lake City have come down since the holiday spike, making it not the worst place to end up after getting out of the Pacific Northwest. As long as rejections stay incredibly low in Seattle, spot rates will stay below the National Truckload Index. An all-in rate of $2,255.44 before margin should secure this lane with little issues.

Who’s with whom? Estes Express Lines, the nation’s largest private carrier, has named Webb Estes as president and COO. Estes is a fourth-generation leader for the family-owned company. Starting on the docks, Estes moved up to lead the acquisition of seven terminals and over 1,000 trucks from Central Freight Lines after it closed at the end of 2021. Former president Rob Estes will stay on as chairman and CEO and move his attention to Estes Forwarding Worldwide. 

Quotable from Todd Maiden’s FreightWaves article: “For nearly a century, Estes has helped shape and lead the logistics industry, and I’m thrilled to carry on our tradition of customer-focused vision, innovation and success,” Webb Estes said. “I’m coming into a dream scenario. Estes is debt free and privately held. Those two things alone provide me a lot of flexibility in being able to think about the future. … We’re always thinking longer term.”

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