Al’s Corner – January 2024

        2024 Has Arrived, Hope it is a Good One

It is January, time to start the new year and Al’s Corner note. As I am beginning my 13th year of writing this note, I have been told that more of you out there have started reading it (must be the wintertime or boredom). With that in mind, I need to up my game. Perhaps bring more heat, or at least write about more interesting topics. So, let us give it a go.

TC New Years Happy Hour is January 25th, at the Hideaway 5900 Arsenal St. in the Hill area. The craziness starts at 4PM-9PM, Free Entry, Free Food, Cash Bar, Free Networking, Free Parking! Again, as I have said about other events, this one normally brings a different set of attendees. You never know who you might see there. Very laid back, silly, fun, average music with me singing a few songs. This event kind of starts the beginning of the year the right way and is kind of in the middle of the winter months. Looking back, the worst memory I have of it was when I had a flat tire about one mile away by the Interstate at 10 pm. As I was trying to change it, four men quickly asked me if I needed help. Not the best spot to be as I was lying underneath the back of the truck. I got up and said thanks, but no thanks, and walked quickly back in dress shoes and got help from a man from the event. Other thoughts, usually, great pizza there!! It’s all about the food! I think they have updated the bathrooms too.  When you get older it is more about the food and bathrooms.  The transportation club now has a portable, mobile bathroom, so maybe we will have it there!

This Months Thoughts on the Transportation Industry.  From the logistics side it seems to be getting tougher and tougher. Rates are still in the tank, which is making shippers very happy, and yet still they are pushing for lower and lower prices. As an expert (maybe) on moving freight I see some trouble now and in the future.  The low rates are starting to send many carriers to the sidelines or parking their trucks, leaving the industry.  Many logistics companies have either closed, are about to, or have had layoffs.  It is a self-fulfilling action on both sides of shippers and carriers that has gone on for many years. Freight rates went up in 2021-2022, many carriers added equipment, hopeful of big paydays. At the same time the economy skyrocketed with lots of free money. Then, Covid ended, shipping reduced, carriers stayed on as they had invested in more equipment and drivers.  So, there was still lots of equipment, yet less loads, which caused rates to plumet. It is a cycle that has gone on for 30 years.  It has been predicted that rates will begin to rise in the middle to late 2024–stay tuned. All the while, as I have said before, some manufacturing companies are practicing “Greed inflation” (is a price raise made from necessity or is it opportunistic) or “Shrinkflation” by reducing the quality or quantity (size). I read last week that a large beverage producer was banned from a large grocery chain overseas for the above reasons. 

Another issue is shippers’ spreading or slowing down on making their payments. It wasn’t as big a problem when interest rates were low, now…

On our end, I see big trouble if the industry continues to push to use the lowest prices. The term you get what you pay for holds true as the service, and the quality of the equipment may not be satisfactory.  Not all trucking companies are the same, they have more costs on nicer equipment, better drivers. Same goes for products, not all are great quality, the ones that are great you will want and must pay for. The consumer is like a shipper, they want great products at the best price. 

I would say that on the logistic side of things fatigue is setting in, as is the trucking companies and their drivers.

10,000 Per Day Step Update—Kathy Hursey hit 800 days in a row a few days ago, and I am 1360 days in a row of at least 10,000 steps. This is the toughest time of the year because of the weather.   

WEL (well) that is it for me this month, AL

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