June 9th, 2011
A lot has been said, written, and discussed about the Professional Driver Pool, or lack thereof, in the United States in the past decade. I was curious about how TCSI-Trans-land stacked up against the National Averages so I did a little study of my own. Several years back I saw some ATA or TCA data that claimed that the average age of a Truckload driver was 47 and the average age of a Less-than-Truckload driver was in the high 50’s. This is truly scary and astonishing data when you start to realize and accept the fact that no one will admit to raising their children to become truck drivers. I know that I personally steered my children away from Trucking because it simply seemed too stressful from personal experience to suggest it to someone that you care about. Anyway we looked at our driver age data and found out the following: 10% of the drivers were 60 to 67 years of age; 35% were in the 50 to 59 age range; 33% were in the 40 to 49 age range; 18% were in the 30 to 39 age range; and only 3.5% were in the 23 to 29 year old age range. And when I added up all of their ages and divided by the number of drivers in our pool it averaged an astonishing 47 1/3 years of age. The ATA/TCA figures were not fabricated in the least but actually based on proven science I guess. Holy smokes, now that we know the raw truth what should we do?
Back when we started out in 1982, which seemed like the stone ages compared to today’s standards, you could basically hire a driver on the phone and when he/she showed up at the office you would take a copy of their drivers license, record their SS# and hand them the keys and pray that things went well. We hired many good drivers off of that simplistic procedure and never thought twice about it. Boy has things changed in 30 years. Don’t you wish just for a week you could have the truckers version of a tax holiday (no taxes over the weekend for school clothes and supplies purchasing) and maybe call it the FMCSA/Trial Attorney Holiday in which you could hire whomever showed up to drive that week and you were completing exonerated and held harmless with regard to their actions the remainder of their careers with your truck line. Gosh, we could have those 20 new Kenworths sitting against the security rail filled up by midday on Wednesday.
The reality is the professional truck driver situation is probably going to get worse before it gets better so we might as well look in the mirror, sober up and accept the challenge of changing our current thought process so that we can survive and perpetuate our business model – ever changing as it is forced to be these days. It appears that men and women in the 23 to 39 years age group are doing everything in their power to not drive a truck and surviving and getting enough to eat and doing just fine without us. Back 30 years ago we always said that, “if you could not do anything else you could always fall back on driving a truck”. In today’s world of FMCSA infused standards such as CSA and with the advent of Trial Attorneys on every street corner that everyone knows because of their relentless advertising not just anyone can drive a truck. Out of every 100 driver applications TCSI can and does qualify and hire 5 or 6. A 6% ratio is really exhaustive, time consuming, and costly but because of our paranoia about the bad things that could and do happen it is very necessary yet very frustrating. Will this ever change, we don’t know. Will this get worse, we pray not.
If the economy does get a chance to heat up then I feel it will exacerbate the already precarious driver situation and by the same token once FMCSA refines the CSA Standards and literally shuts down the noncompliant carriers it will also choke off the driver pool as well. What we find is that a large majority of drivers who get displaced from the noncompliant carriers cannot be qualified by the premium service truckers like TCSI-Transland as we are committed to retaining high standards to protect our Corporate Interest which by the way goes hand in hand with the Public Interest.
We will keep fighting the battle as always using new and improved tactics in an effort to always build a better mouse trap. If all else fails we can always recruit in Eastern Europe and offer more than just a sign on bonus. How about, “free travel to USA and free lessons on English as a second language”.
Mike Walker President/CEO
January 7th, 2010
According to recent American Trucking Association data there have been 1,300 fleets that have closed their doors during the first 9 months of 2009 compared to 2,690 failures in the first three quarters of 2008. Let’s hope for the sake of all of us truckers, the families we support, and the Nation that we serve that the worst is over and we can start to stabilize in an Industry that is crucial to sustain what we stand for and expect and simply put, “the American Way of Life”. From the standpoint of basic textbook Supply and Demand we must think that the supply of tractors will continue to shake out of the system until the freight rates start to move in a rational upward direction. It is just simply not sustainable nor realistic to think that truckload freight can move with any certainly or service levels when the revenue is barely enough to offset a driver’s wage and fuel for the tractor; let alone the multitude of other line item expenses and taxes that the professional trucking company faces in today’s business world. I am pleased to announce, effective 12-31-2009, the formal merger of TCSI, Transland, and RayCore Carriers into one Missouri based Corporation known as TCSI-Tranland. All of the entities are in good standing financially as detailed by our press release on 12-1-09. The Ownership structured has not changed as the Walker Family is poised to guide the Company growth well into the future. That being said the Management Team at TCSI-Transland spent the bulk of 2009 proactively addressing fixed and variable overhead issues as we made incremental adjustments to what many observers are calling the “new normal” in business. The new normal would include freight and revenue levels considerably below those levels enjoyed in the 2004, 2005, 2006 growth spurt coupled with intense pricing competition between surviving motor carriers struggling to keep their fleets in consistent motion. While adapting to these new challenges the management at TCSI had the foresight in 2009 to keep investing in technology,equipment, processes, environmentally sound practices, and the ongoing pursuit of excellence. The game plan in motion is plain and simple for all to see; as the economy moves forward TCSI-Transland is in position to increase its asset and brokerage capacity quickly to keep pace with the growing needs and requirements of its valued clients. We are certainly looking forward to the opportunities that are being presented to us as we move forward into 2010 as we see it as a year of optimism and recovery. Please feel free to interact with us through whatever medium best suites your taste as we appreciate and expect to learn from future dialogue with our clients, critics, suppliers, and community.
I leave you with Best Wishes for all of our continued success,
November 24th, 2009
In April of 2004 TCSI-Transland joined Traffic Insurance LTD for the purpose of Work Comp and Auto Liability Insurance Coverage. Traffic is chartered in Grand Cayman and is the 9th largest captive insurance company of any type in the world. Currently consisting of 55 Carrier/Members Traffic was founded by Cottingham and Butler out of Dubuque, IA along with Captive Resoures; a captive consultant out of Chicago, IL. The concept is simple; by limiting your accident and claims experiences you create wealth by receiving premiums back in the form
of dividends. I have seen carriers receive back at the end of an accounting period as much as 40% of their paid in premium for that period. What didn’t make sense was that these 55 carriers were partnering and sharing risk in insurance but they weren’t really using their economies of scale for anything else.
At the Summer Meeting in Canada in August of 2009 I suggested that we form a freight posting network so the members could broker freight to ourselves. The concept is simple enough and makes complete sense to trade more with partners that you trust as they have good insurance,
ethics, practices, cultures, etc. As of November of 2009 I am pleased to report that we have formed the Freight Posting Network ( you must be a Traffic Insurance Member to be a member of the FPN ) and we have 29 members on board and hope to have another 10 members signed up by March of 2010. We should GO LIVE by early December of 2009 and I will keep you posted on the progress. I expect this innovation and many others to keep us in business as others exit the market.
November 4th, 2009
Welcome to the new TCSI-Transland website! I am so pleased at how our new site has turned out and happy to share the new features with everyone! The technology that we invest in continually has to be utilized in order to help us become more efficient and productive. So using our back-office software and the web together is a great place for us to be.
We listened to our partners and as we built relationships, we made certain that we implemented as many of the request as possible. After all when the customer sees a need, it’s up to us to fill it if at all possible? Some of the great new features are the “Load Tracing” that now allows a customer to log in and see what loads they have and what the status of each is. This includes seeing visually on a map what the last known location is. Yeah!!! There are things like requesting a rate, getting a POD, online chatting, viewing our loads available in our brokerage, and our new online application. All these features together compliment the other. We feel this makes the overall experience greater and the customer will feel comfortable with going on the web and getting the information needed or question answered. Please feel free to look around the site and let us know what you think.