Posts Tagged “economy”
The 44-year-old former owner operator says he parked his truck because of poor economic conditions and excessive government regulations.
The driver for MK Express of East Butler, PA was fueling at a Petro Truck Stop at Vienna, GA. He hauls primarily produce out of the Southeast and dry freight on the return haul.
Bowling says a main complaint with hauling produce are the delays associated with getting loaded. Although this is not as serious a problem working with his current carrier, he notes too often product is still in the fields when arriving at the loading docks. Maintaining proper load temperatures also is cited as being very important.
While Bowling loves the independence associated with trucking, he says U.S. Department of Transportation regulations are excessive and challenging.
“The DOT is always wanting to put more regulations on you and it just makes it harder,” he states. More specifically, he cites most recent hours of service regulation changes. Bowling says the changes, involving the 14-hour rule may be better for some drivers, but worse for others.
He is referring to the 34-hour restart once a week with two sleep times from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., plus there is the 30-minute rest break following eight hours of driving.
“For some guys it would be too much time off, but for others it might help keep them from driving when they are tired,” he says.
When the price of gasoline, diesel fuel and other energy products go up, it affects everything else in our economy. Fuel prices are killing consumers — and truckers. It is devastating to those involved in transportation because it costs more to deliver products, including produce from shipping points to warehouses, and warehouses to your supermarket.
Consumers also get a double whammy on buying fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only does it cost farmers more in fertilizers, pesticides, etc., but everyone is passing their costs on to cover their increased costs. Produce prices also are affected more by weather conditions than many products.
Just about everything in your local produce department is costing more. Just two examples are potatoes and blueberries, but for different reasons.
Why is there a good chance potatoes in your local produce department will be costing more? Primarily due to poor eating habits. The demand is up for potatoes from the folks that process them for french fries in the U.S. and for dehydrated potatoes being exported to other countries. Thus, the processors are buying up potatoes that would normally be destined for the fresh market. With reduced amounts of fresh potatoes in your favorite supermarket, expect prices to rise and be higher than they normally would be until the new crop of potatoes begin appearing around August.
However, do not despair. One thing you can count on with potatoes is the irresistable urge of potato farmers to over produce. Potatoes are known for bringing financial “feasts” or “famine” to the growers. They’ll make a bundle one year when the crop is in short supply (and retail prices are high), then the next year the farmers and other investors will pump money into acreage increases. Unless Mother Nature takes care of things through inclement weather, disease etc., there will be too many potatoes on the market, which is good for consumers because of the lower prices.
Now for blueberries. Highly perishable, unlike potatoes, these berries are much more susceptable to freeze damage and other “acts of God” activities. Freezes several weeks ago ranging from Florida to Georgia and North Carolina are expected to reduce blueberry production from those areas, which means higher prices for “blues” at retail.
Late season blueberries from Chile are having quality problems as the season ends in early April. Florida “blues” are now available, but lighter supplies mean higher supermarket prices. To help cover the shortage, you’ll be seeing 4.4 ounce containers of bluesberries offered in stores, instead of 6 ounce containers when supplies are more readily available.