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. EDT. Catch up on previous episodes here. If this was forwarded to you, sign up for Check Call the newsletter here.
In this edition: Celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week; Minneapolis is taking a dive; and C.H. Robinson goes to the border.
It’s every brokerage’s favorite time of the year, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, running through Saturday. Social media is flooded with #ThankADriver posts and sentimental praises for those who drive for a living. It’s been a tumultuous few years for drivers. Being told they’re heroes during the pandemic, AB5 messing up California and the highest rates followed by rates that aren’t exactly profitable to drive a truck, this year’s Driver Appreciation Week has to be REALLY good.
I’ve often said that every week should be Driver Appreciation Week. We should be putting our drivers first and be upfront and honest with everyone and just know that it’s not always the drivers fault, even though sometimes it legitimately is, but they shouldn’t get the blame first. If year-round relationship building is a bit out of scope, then send care packages, have cookouts and do anything else that carriers enjoy.
Here’s what some major retailers are doing this week for drivers if you want to pass along the information.
Truckstop is helping to promote driver wellness by publishing survey results. A common theme stopping a lot of drivers from being healthier is a lack of parking, whether it’s at a healthy eating spot or somewhere they could work out. Parks, hiking trails and gyms aren’t really semi-truck friendly. Help drivers out and offer up some solid parking options, especially if they’re in areas you’re familiar with.
Convoy is having a promotion that any carrier who hauls with Convoy is eligible to save $700 on a two-month trailer rental.
RaceTrac, a gas station chain in the South, is taking the entire month for in-store promotions, including $4 meal deals. There are free Nathan’s hot dogs this week, and on Friday, there will be item giveaways, including headsets.
Pilot is also taking the month to give away free drinks and discounted meals for drivers and is hosting a party in North Little Rock, Arkansas, for drivers on Wednesday.
Love’s is also jumping on the discount train but with a twist. Drivers can get a free hot sandwich, bowl or fresh salad with an oil change.
Also if you’re planning on what to do next year, check out this episode of PDQ America in which drivers spill the tea on what they actually want for Christmas/Driver Appreciation Week.
Is your office doing something cool? Tag me on social media. I want to see every LinkedIn post and every tweet or xeet. (Do we know what it’s being called now?) If you’re a driver, let me know what you actually want for Driver Appreciation Week to feel appreciated.
Market Check. Minneapolis is the market that is experiencing the most dramatic softening of freight in the country. Outbound tender rejections have dropped 1,529 basis points week over week (w/w), which is the most I’ve seen any market drop perhaps ever. Not only have outbound tender rejections dropped below 4%, outbound tender volumes, while on the rise, are still down 6.85% w/w. It’s not a great time for a carrier to be in this market, but continued pressure on spot rates could make for some margin-friendly loads.
Who’s with whom? C.H. Robinson and Laredo, Texas, have become besties. C.H. has opened a 400,000-square-foot cross-border facility at the U.S.-Mexico border. This new facility can handle up to 350 shipments a day, which is some carrier awards for an entire month. Monterrey, Mexico, is 140 miles away from Laredo. Given that just about every automotive manufacturer is setting up shop in Mexico, it’s not entirely shocking that brokerages are setting up facilities on the other side of the border.
The nearshoring demand in Mexico will only grow over the next year and I would not be surprised if this is a common occurrence with more and more brokers. Because of how freight enters the country from Mexico through a transfer carrier at the border, it’s paramount to have facilities that can unload freight quickly so that those transfer carriers can return to the border to haul more freight. “On a day when 350 loads are being picked up, if you reduce load time by an average of 10 minutes, that saves nearly 60 hours in one day,” Mike Burkhart, C.H. Robinson’s vice president of North America surface transportation, said in Noi Mahoney’s article.
This is the ever-popular we’re not a double broker because we signed some paperwork, therefore it’s a co-brokering situation. Thoughts on if it’s a good move off the bat or only for tricky loads that could potentially lose a customer if failed on? Let me know. I’d love to share them with everyone.
The more you know
Union Pacific defends rail safety program
California Senate votes to ban driverless trucks
UPS rolls out peak delivery surcharges
Amazon rolls out end-to-end global supply chain service
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