I've often heard that you can measure the economy by the transportation sector and specifically the trucking industry and I can attest that it's true.  With open deck trailers, you can see the freight that's being moved, with vans and reefers, we can only guess.

Just last week, leading up to Thanksgiving, my loads were very representative of what major things are going on in the U.S. and global economy.  Here's a break down of my loads and what they represented:

  1. Load of lumber- to manufacturer of roof trusses (construction)
  2. Empty 40' Container - to a business supporting Wal-Mart's Holiday Shopping Rush (extra storage)
  3. Load of Lumber - Part of an 80 load project to the Virginia ports to be shipped to Japan for Typhoon Recovery
  4. Empty 40' Container - to a business supporting Wal-Mart's Holiday Shopping Rush (extra storage)
  5. Deere-Hitachi Excavator - to a retail sales location

Loads 1 & 5 represented normal "replace stock" type of moves.  However, loads 2-4 (in the red) were not part of the normal cycles of everyday business, but representative of spikes in the economy for various reasons.

The Christmas rush is predictable every year and affects most of us in the trucking industry either directly or indirectly.  It affects us directly by trucking companies hauling the extra merchandise to the stores or distribution centers and helping the big players out like UPS, Wal-Mart and FED EX.  The aforementioned big three use outside carriers every year to handle the increased tonnage.  And it affects us indirectly because many trucks are diverted in support of the Christmas season and that leaves more "normal" freight on the table for those trucks not participating in the seasonal rush.

It's a busy time in the trucking industry as trucks are rolling non stop til Christmas to keep the stores stocked. Winter weather in parts of the country threatens to add extra challenges in the mix as well.  So please be careful during this last push of 2015 and get home safely!

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Joey Slaughter

Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. Joey has been in the trucking industry since 1992.

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