November 16, 2021

Don’t Take America’s Truckers For Granted

At FreightWorks we’re reminded each day that America’s truckers and those in that profession around the world help deliver the promises of the richest country ever known. We are blessed beyond measure and easily lulled into forgetting how it all happens.

Warehouses, manufacturing centers, loading docks, stores, harbors, farms and drop yards form just some of the stops along asphalt highways and concrete interstates pulsing with the signs of vibrant, growing commerce.

Just like a human heart pumping life through a body the infrastructure of trucking and logistics in the United States can easily be taken for granted because of the remarkable regular effort.  Few of our citizens understand just how dependent we are on trucks and drivers carefully navigating our roads 24/7. Fleets and owner operators insure a daily bounty of inestimable goods get to their destination. It’s as predictable as the sunrise and sunsets our drivers see through a clear or fogged windshield.

In the beginning the Winton Motor Carriage Company of Cleveland, Ohio, founded in 1896, pioneered what we now call...”the trucking industry.” In 1898, the company built its first truck capable of carrying cargo in an attached trailer.

Back then it would have baffled the mind to know that just 125 years later there would be 8 million people employed in the trucking industry in the US, 3.6 million of which are drivers which is roughly equal to the number of teachers in the United States.

But a nation lulled into a state of being spoiled by 500,000 trucking companies, 2 million tractor trailers and the sheer willpower, faith and professionalism of drivers will soon wake up to the facts.

While we notice the big trucking company brands it’s important to remember that 80% of all transportation companies are regarded as “small businesses” with 6 trucks or less and many who steer across our beautiful country alone except for the thoughts they carry with them.

In 2021 Americans received notice on at least two fronts that an industry easy to overlook can quickly become front page news, the first post in a news feed or the lead television story on an evening broadcast.

One concern is the gripping reality of a United States supply chain crisis where empty shelves and terribly delayed deliveries have been seen along with industry forecasters like Moody’s declaring recently “It will get worse before it gets better.”

Choked harbors. Jammed railways. Empty warehouses. Stacked trailers. The deep problems in the structure of our North American supply system and now daily delivery chaos hopefully looks to the ones often called upon to clean up the mess and deliver miracles by the mile.

They are America’s truck drivers.

Another recent story focusing attention on our frequently inconspicuous drivers turned out to be one of our major political upsets in recent elections.

This year, long term New Jersey Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney’s Republican challenger was Ed Durr, a fifty-eight-year-old truck driver for Raymour & Flanigan, the furniture chain.

Durr had said he entered the race after being denied a concealed carry permit despite having a clean record. State campaign finance records show a slate of three candidates, including Durr, raised more than $10,000 during their campaign, but he spent only $153.31: $66.64 at Dunkin Donuts to buy food and drinks for staff and $86.67 for paper flyers and business cards. His campaign video was filmed on his phone!

He improbably won and overnight this unassuming man became the poster person for our down to earth, authentic and faithful truck drivers in America. The political establishment is still scratching heads about it all while every major news and feature outlet wants to tell his story.

The stories also get played out overseas as recently an Australian billionaire businessman who privately held a logistics firm with more than 5,000 trucks across ten countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region reminded in major trade publications that a trucking life can lead to an exceptional one. He left school at age 16 because he simply wasn’t interested in what education had to offer and instead became a truck driver. He’s paid multiple visits to his old-school discussing the success of his business and lessons learned along the road.

These stories are vast, colorful and varied. With a little research you’ll just be amazed. Mostly unseen and frequently overlooked are the anonymous men, women, solos and teams who keep America moving, growing and adapting while insuring another day of promises are kept.

At FreightWorks we often say...”Our drivers come first.”

Why? Because they do!

And with our season of thanks just around the corner what is true every day is the heartfelt gratitude for daily sacrifices to keep our part of the promise to our customers rolling along.

If you know a driver looking to make a change in the new year have them give us a call or go to our website. A new path and life may be as simple as starting a conversation.

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