|A Difficulty Time Dealing with the "F-Word"|
|Sunday, 15 June 2008 07:52|
All of you are probably like me, having a difficult time dealing with the “F-Words”, FIVE dollar diesel and FOUR dollar gasoline. This lousy economy and the lack of construction in general are making it hard to even try to recoup some of these high fuel prices, especially with the ridiculous rates we’re forced to operate under. A year ago, I was paying $3.20 a gallon for diesel. Currently as of the last week of May, I’m paying $5.09, an increase of $1.89 (60%) from a year ago.
I am not aware of any increase in truck rates from a year ago in my area [San Diego] on the contrary, rates have decreased. I’m not sure how much longer many of us can continue to endure these conditions. We are being hit three fold: there’s a lack of work, higher costs of operations and lower truck rates.
I don’t think the contractors are fully aware of the gravity of our situation. Desperate companies continue to undercut rates in a last ditch effort to remain in business for the short term.
This economy cannot support the large number of trucks currently on the rosters now. The contractors must understand the lowest rate can come back and bite them in the a_ _. The contractors need to support the companies that have given them the best service in the past so they will be around for their future service needs.
Not all of us will survive this construction recession, hell depression. These are some harsh words and I get criticized when I speak them, but it is the reality and at some point we all need to deal with the reality of these hard economic times. Many of my friends in the business are in a difficult situation and are trying to figure out what to do next. Some have already been forced to call it quits. This is real world business.
Most of us are dealing with these immediate hard times on a day-to-day basis and not thinking very far into the future. The Association on the other hand must continue to look into the future on the membership’s behalf.
The next crises as most of us are aware, outside of no work and record high fuel prices, is the new CARB diesel engine emissions rule. For more than a year, the Association has been trying to inform the members of the impact this rule will have on their businesses and the importance of getting involved in this rule making decision prior to it taking effect. The Association has joined forces with two industry coalitions: The California Chamber of Commerce (Driving Toward a Cleaner California) and The Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition “CIAQC” (Coalition to Build a Cleaner California) at a cost of $20,000 each. We are committed to representing our members.
Lee Brown and the Executive Committee has decided to continue with its proactive approach and hired Sean Edgar as a consultant on CARB issues (see May issue Transportation News Profile on page 9). The Association has put together a formidable team that is tasked with representing your interests before CARB: Betty Plowman, Lee Brown, Fred ReCupido, Greg Dineen, our Counsel and Lobbyist, the CDTOA Board and now Sean.
These efforts have been very time consuming and costly. We want to be able to look the membership in the eyes and say we have done everything possible to represent you on these issues because of the negative effects these rules will have on your businesses. As you can now understand, the Association is going to great lengths and expense to get this done on all of our behalf. There is no guarantee these bureaucrats have not already made up their minds or will even listen to reason, but we are going to try to get them to do what’s right and fair for all Californians.
The Association is not limiting all its time to CARB issues. We have an aggressive agenda for this year’s “to-do” list. Lee Brown’s Executive report in the January issue of the Transportation News lists the issues we want to address this year, especially the Dump Truck Broker Bill. The Association’s plate is full. We need the members to continue to inform non-members of the importance of belonging and supporting this industry through the Association. We need to attract new members and keep our existing membership. Remember there is strength in numbers. Also, don’t forget to support our Affiliates with your business. Times are just as slow for them as they are for us.
Our Summer Board Meeting is July 19th at the Heidrick AG History Center/Hay’s Truck Museum in Woodland. We are staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Woodland CA to save some money; rooms are $109/night. Saturday’s breakfast and lunch will be hosted by CDTOA and AADT. We are having a Saturday night function at the Truck Museum hosted by Armstrong & Associates, our endorsed workers’ comp insurance broker.
I know during these slow times it can be hard to get away, but your input is needed. We always have plenty of business to deal with at these meetings and we also know how to have a good time following them. The Saturday night function and the tour of the Truck Museum are a good reason to get away from the daily grind. Hope to see you all there!
‘Together We Make a Difference”