In the world of business, things are always in a state of change. Successful businesses recognize this and adapt to the changes and profit from it.
Trucking is a business and is certainly changing, especially lately. $4/gallon for fuel is now the norm, the H.O.S. have changed again, there are emissions mandates to deal with, falling freight rates and electronic logbooks.
Changing to a New Niche
Even though it’s tempting at times to just say ‘to hell with it’ and get out, some owner operators will adapt to the changes and profit.
I’ve always believed that there was better money to be had in the trucking industry from servicing ‘niche’ or specialized markets.
Short Haul Specialty
I see a new ‘niche’ market forming. Some independent truckers are taking advantage of it already.
Long haul trucking is taking a beating: fuel costs are high, the freight is too cheap and the equipment needed for long haul is just too expensive.
Out west, there are trains with hundreds and hundreds of cars carrying containers. One Wyoming town brags that they see 10,000 train cars a day pass through their town.
The trains have more freight than they can handle, because they can haul it for less than trucks, over long distances.
It’s tough to compete with their cheap rates. So….. don’t even try.
In most cases though, trains can’t get to the customer’s door. They can only get as close as the rail line allows them to.
That’s where the truck is needed. In fact, there’s really no other way to get their freight to their customer.
Nail That Niche
So it might be an idea to get in to short haul trucking and haul directly from the rail yards. Charge the rail a good dollar for doing so, burn less fuel, run older emissions free trucks and be home most nights.
Some truckers have already jumped on the band wagon and doing it. This type of trucking is going to continue to grow.
Shipping From the Ports
The same is happening with the ports. The ports need the truckers, worse than the truckers need them.
Ports and rail yards are controlled by others, that’s a given. However, these third parties, still need trucks to move their freight. However, they are careful not to let the truckers know just had badly they are needed.
Capitalize on the Opportunity
Here’s an area of trucking where the truckers should get control of the pricing before it gets out of hand, like long haul freight rates. Now’s the time to gain control and set the pricing.
Remember, the ports and the rail yards can’t function without the trucks.
It’s a prospective niche with potentially better pay. It is certainly worth pursuing for the independent trucker who wants to do better than ‘break even’ at the end of the day.