Toledo Trucking Association
It’s been a busy time recently for members of the Toledo Trucking Association. They participated in the 2013 Ohio Conference on Freight in September, and September was Truck Safety Month with local members organizing outreach activities. Even without special events, things are always moving in the trucking industry. President of Toledo Trucking Association David Black said that increases in the amount of freight and changes in regulations mean that truckers are always working at full speed.
David Black described the regional trucking business as solid but in flux. “The trucking industry in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan is robust. There are many small- to medium-sized companies with niche markets.” There are firms that specialize in delivering food, and others that move only auto parts. He said that there is plenty of freight to be moved but lots of challenges to the industry, from cost of equipment, to training of personnel, to regulations.
“Improved technology has improved safety, but it has also increased the cost of trucks,” he said. New equipment adds to the initial cost of the truck and also increases the cost of repairs. “Between 2004 and 2013 model years, technology to meet regulations has added $25,000 to $30,000 to the initial price of a truck.”
The trucking and logistics industry has good jobs available, said Black. “We have more freight than we can move right now, and it’s because of a lack of drivers.” Drivers must have outstanding experience and safety records. Black explains that if a big box company wants to contract with a new trucking firm, the company can investigate a wide range of Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) variables for each driver. These variables include accidents and on time delivery but also includes vehicle breakdowns, and the amount of time drivers spend waiting around. A good driver can find work but it’s not for everyone. Black notes that pay may be variable depending on the type of route and the rules and regulations are complex. “We can’t grab drivers right out of high school,” he says. “They need to get experience and build up a good record. The rolling stock needs a smart guy in the seat to keep it between the lines.”
Repair and maintenance are other good jobs in the freight business. Black says, “Mechanics don’t just turn a wrench any more. These guys have to be very well trained.” He notes that the Toledo Trucking Association supports Penta Career Center and Owens Community College and has provided scholarships to men and women studying supply chain management and logistics at the University of Toledo College of Business.
Find out more about the trucking industry in the Great Lakes region here.