Whatever the Obstacle, Truckers Come Through

While covering this industry for more than 20 years, I’ve learned a lot about the people who work in logistics and transportation. One thing that consistently stands out is their passion and dedication to moving our nation’s freight—and economy—forward.

This passion and dedication became apparent yet again as we watched Hurricane Katrina play out. The same expertise, skill, and devotion usually applied to pleasing customers with swift delivery of goods revved into action to assist in emergency aid and relief.

We’ve heard from so many readers, carriers, and logistics companies who are marshalling resources and quickly delivering direct help. Many companies have made long-term arrangements to continue their good works after the initial destructive impact subsides.

I was struck most, however, by a comment from one truck driver volunteering his services in the Gulf Coast: “Wherever possible, the folks whose homes and jobs have been washed away should be hired to do the cleanup and reconstruction,” he said.

We’re proud that this selfless thinking represents the people whose work we cover in Inbound Logistics. It gives us yet one more reason to be passionate about our industry.

Katrina’s force tore apart many lives in the region—and continues to ripple through the national economy. For the trucking industry, in particular, Katrina exacerbated a variety of existing issues, such as a labor shortage that could surpass 50,000 drivers by year’s end; soaring fuel costs and fuel surcharges; and a continuing capacity crunch.

In this annual trucking issue, we take an in-depth look at these challenges from both the shipper and carrier sides of the road. Interestingly, a great deal of convergence exists between them, and their outlooks on how to move the industry forward. Here’s a lineup:

In Tips of the Trade, we ask shippers and service providers to offer their advice on best practices for purchasing TL and LTL services, as well as their opinions on coping with truckers’ challenges. The alignment reflects the importance both shippers and carriers place on forging mutually beneficial, long-lasting relationships.

West Coast Editor Joseph O’Reilly takes a closer look at how shippers are dealing with capacity shortages in Shared Pain, Shared Gain. His findings? Shippers are locating alternate means of distribution, and more closely tieing supply to demand to alleviate pressures on their supply chains. They are also partnering with carriers and 3PLs to find innovative solutions.

And to help you find the right carrier partners, we offer our annual Top 100 Motor Carriers list, which showcases the capabilities of the country’s leading carriers.

We hope this front-end interface serves as an effective tool for decision support, and provides solutions to keep your business moving forward.

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