Lake-Effect Snow vs. Trucking | Episode 227

Freight 360

January 19, 2024

This episode offers an exhilarating mix of NFL highlights and freight market strategies, beginning with the Buffalo Bills’ victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and setting high stakes for the Bills vs. Chiefs game. We then dive into how winter weather impacts the logistics industry, from adapting to icy roads and delays to dealing with regional challenges in transportation. We wrap up with insights on how natural disasters affect the trucking industry, offering strategies for freight brokers to optimize profits.

Support Our Sponsors:
Bluebook Services: Click Here
DAT Freight & Analytics – Get 10% off your first year!
DAT Power – Brokers & Carriers: Click Here
DAT Express – Brokers: Click Here
Truckers Edge – Carriers: Click Here

Recommended Products: Click Here
Freight Broker Basics Course: Click Here
Join Our Facebook Group: Click Here
Check out all of our content online: Click Here

Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:19

All right, welcome back to another episode of the Frey360 podcast. If you are brand new here, hit that subscribe button. Hit the little bell icon on YouTube if you're there. Leave us a comment, leave us a review, share us with your friends in the industry and head over to You can check out our whole searchable library of all of our content and especially check out the FreyBroker basics course to learn everything you need to know to get your brokerage off the ground and grow it successfully. Well, hey, man, let's just get right into sports here. See if I can get a little audio over clip here.

Speaker 2: 1:00

The bills make me wanna shout kick your heels and then shout, throw your hands up and shout throw your head back and shout Come on now.

Speaker 1: 1:07

All right, so the you can hear that right.

Speaker 1: 1:11

I can hear it. All right, good deal. So the Buffalo Bills, my bills. I was there at the snow fest on Sunday night, so clearly the game was supposed to be on Saturday in Orchard Park and we had a bunch of lake effect snow come through. It's still coming today, second storm, which is we're gonna talk about how to deal with winter weather and all that in today's topic. But the game was awesome and ended up being the end of the weekend, so Sunday night they were scheduled to four and it was a 31 to 17 Buffalo over Pittsburgh. Win Ben, I will say I sat around a lot of yinzers, a lot of terrible towel, a lot of Steelers jerseys and they were just glad to be in the playoffs and love the vibe. No one really expected a win, but they wanted to see a good game and they got one. With TJ Watt not playing. It was kind of, you know, one of their star defensive players. It was not. It was gonna be a tough battle TJ Watt.

Speaker 3: 2:14

Do you realize they are one in 10 when he doesn't start? Yes, Yep.

Speaker 1: 2:21

And that doesn't include like games in the elements on the road, Like that's just in general, like home games, everything right. So that's, yeah, that says a lot. And you're on a third string, quarterback, Mason Rudolph. But man, he, he, he put up some good yard. It'd be like 250 yards Outside of that interception.

Speaker 3: 2:38

I mean, I think it could have been a. It would have been a much closer game. Clearly there was a 14 point swing with the interception into the touch, into the end zone that the first one picked up, yeah For sure.

Speaker 1: 2:48

For sure I would say the bills started off hot. That first half was 21-nothing at one point and then a lot of the Steelers kind of hang out for a bit and then they closed it out. Allen had three passing touchdowns and then he ran one for 52 yards. So yeah, but around like the NFL in general. I was surprised, man, like Houston blew out Cleveland, kc embarrassed Miami, which I could have seen that coming in a cold game.

Speaker 1: 3:17

Dallas, I don't know how. If you're a Dallas fan, I'm sorry, like that was, I would be very upset if I had to watch that game to see a seven. I think Green Bay is a seven seed to, yeah, to yikes. So Dallas is out, green Bay moves on the Rams and the Detroit game was really cool. It was ended up 24-23. I liked watching that one. Detroit pulled it away, bills beat Pittsburgh and then Tampa Bay upsetting a Philadelphia team that did not look like the first half of this season. It is a again, if you're a Dallas fan or a Philly fan, I feel for you. I've gone through the drought. At least you guys are making the playoffs, but I've gone through that drought of just upsetting years over and over and over again. I will tell you. If anyone follows Trey Griggs in his beta consulting and his show, he's got a podcast. Him and I will be having a bet for this weekend because it's the bills hosting the chiefs. We're all excited to have Taylor Swift come into Orchard Park.

Speaker 3: 4:17

They were talking about that on the radio this morning. They said apparently Taylor Swift didn't play Orchard Park and they think there's some jinx, so that, like I don't know, I didn't understand the rationale.

Speaker 1: 4:31

Like she didn't play a concert at the which would have been at the Bill Stadium.

Speaker 3: 4:35

Yeah, they would skip that and they're like it'd be ironic if that jinxes, you know, kelsey and the chiefs to losing in Orchard Park and it's like, hey, maybe she'll do a pop-up show. I don't understand. I didn't really understand why that would have jinxed them, but they were talking about it on the Pittsburgh radio and the recap this week after yeah, clearly.

Speaker 1: 4:55

Well, it's going to be a good one, man. This is like. This is such a good rivalry. The bills and the chiefs. So the bet I have with Trey whoever's team loses will have to go on the others podcast and be wearing an opposing team's jersey and have temporary face tattoos of the other team all over their face. So you guys can expect Trey Greggs to be wearing a Josh Allen jersey and have a bunch of bills logos on his face, because it ain't going the other way. Anyway, great matchup between these teams. My home's first playoff game on the road ever.

Speaker 2: 5:32

Really, it was the first time playing in Buffalo with fans ever.

Speaker 1: 5:36

Yeah, so the bills play. My homes came to Buffalo in the COVID year so there was no fans in the stands so we didn't. The home field advantage didn't really exist the way that it is now, with Bill's Mafia being super loud. But every other game since then regular season or post season has been at Arrowhead in Kansas City, so really excited. The bills are favored by two and a half points. I'm taking the bills. I think we covered the spread. I think it's going to be a really awesome game. But it might come down to a field goal, a three point win. It could come down to, you know, it could be a six point game. Five point game.

Speaker 1: 6:10

I don't know, taking the bills by three or more. And yeah, we'll see how the rest of the league pans out. But go, bales. Man, I'm so excited. This is the best time of year I'll be at the game, really pumped.

Speaker 3: 6:22

I'll be rooting for him the rest of the season.

Speaker 1: 6:25

Yeah, congrats to Darcy Was Darcy won the, so we didn't have his name on record last week, but yeah, darcy, we know him pretty well. He won the pick them challenge that our producer, steven, put together. So we'll have it out next year before the week one starts. So that way I think we got in a little bit late this year. What do we got in the news? Anything. Winter weather is disrupting trucking, but we're going to talk about that as our topic today.

Speaker 3: 6:55

Yeah, other than that, I mean, I haven't seen much of anything in the news, to be honest. Well, political bullshit.

Speaker 1: 7:02

Yeah, so that's how primaries are starting up. So that's how I'm going to get yourself ready for a year full of getting in fights with family and friends and people on social media about politics or just stay out of it. You know you can do that too. Exactly. So we're going to talk a bit about weather and its impact, and we've done episodes like this in the past. This is extremely relevant and we wanted to retouch it as well.

Speaker 1: 7:34

Oh, actually, really quick, in the news, our producer, steven, just reminded us about the Red Sea troubles. Yeah, container ships in the Red Sea getting attacked, so there are big companies now diverting their movement out of the Red Sea. Also, what that's the Suez Canal goes into the Red Sea or vice versa. But, yeah, people are going around Africa now and they're rerouting, so it's going to cause delays and all kinds of issues in supply chain. So if you work in the forwarding space or anything that's imported, expect to see challenges there. Thanks for that reminder.

Speaker 1: 8:11

Yeah, so winter weather, okay, and we're going to touch on some other stuff too. Whether it's wildfires or hurricane season or mudslides not picking on you, california, but you have some weird stuff that happens out there earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires, they get it all and high taxes in California and they have a Glendale, so winter weather like so we're recording right now, wednesday, january 17th, and the week we have, the week that we are going through right now, in the previous like seven days, has been like a record, historically record low temperatures across the United States. So in California, in which case, ben, maybe you had to wear socks today If it's a little chilly, or maybe not.

Speaker 3: 8:52

I did. I actually bought a pair, a couple of pair of long pants over Christmas, and it's the first time I've had to put them on.

Speaker 1: 8:59

Yes, so winter weather. I will start with this right, this is something that is extremely predictable. Every single year, winter starts in December and ends in March All right. And every single year, snow will fall somewhere in the United States, and every single year you will have certain highways that have tractor-trailer bands or empty trailer bands or accidents All right. And what's awesome is we have these meteorologists in the National Weather Service who can predict when these storms are going to come through. They're not always accurate on the specifics of it and the amounts of snowfall or where exactly it's going to hit, but we generally know ahead of time when this stuff is going to happen and there are plenty of things that you can do before a storm comes through, and communication is huge with your customers, and we'll get into some of that and we'll kind of talk through the impact that a storm or a natural disaster has on the freight market before, during and after, and we've done a short link video on this on YouTube as well.

Speaker 1: 10:05

I highlighted some of the hurricanes that came through, I think, in 2022. But think about this Winter weather for about half the United States every year, hurricane season on the East Coast, florida, the Gulf and, apparently California. They got one of those this past season as well. Wildfires We've had them out west, mostly where it's dry right Like California, colorado, some other places. Those are like your big Natoes.

Speaker 3: 10:39

Well, here's the other thing too, right Like what I've noticed is recently, like you're seeing lots more like horrific storms going up through the Midwest, like tornadoes through Tennessee Tornadoes yep those areas.

Speaker 3: 10:51

I mean, like I think, last year I remember reading, because clearly I mean previously, I would say where I lived was like the natural disaster kind of capital of the United States. Like you got a handful of hurricanes, kind of either almost hit or one or two does hit, depending every year Like pretty much my whole life, except for the past few years, like the last time, I think. Well, there was the big one, I think two or three years ago, but prior to that like we haven't had many warnings or even really had to even bring in things from the outside because of warnings. I can't even remember. Like it's been a year or two.

Speaker 3: 11:26

And what I was going to say, though, is what I do notice, though, was on the local weather.

Speaker 3: 11:30

They talk about hurricane season, yada, yada yada, but they had said, I think it was like July, it was somewhere in the mid part of this year.

Speaker 3: 11:37

Fema had exhausted, I think, almost their entire annual budget by like month seven or eight last year, and it was mostly due to what you were saying Wildfires in different areas, freeze overs in late winter last year, as well, as you know, major storms coming through the Midwest. So the weather pattern, at the very least recently, shifted a lot and created lots of issues and opportunities all over the country really all year, where, when I used to FEMA used to be my customer when I worked at TQL so like we would literally bank every year we were waiting for the calendar to hit hurricane season because that's when you would make all of your money on that account and honestly, since, like the last major storm, like it's not really been the case, it's really more that this weather is hitting everywhere and anywhere any month of the year. So I mean it's good news and bad news for a lot of different reasons that we'll dig into, you know, in this show.

Speaker 1: 12:32

So I do have. I'm going to tie in a news headline. This comes from produce blue book. So this is in our newsletter this week that came out Thursday. So if you get the newsletter you'll have. You will have seen this If you don't subscribe to the newsletter. On our website for a, I was reading it off.

Speaker 1: 12:54

So the United States experiencing a severe cold snap, with temperatures plummeting below freezing across much of the country. This extreme weather is impacting food habits, with a shift from salads to soups as people stay indoors. The cold is also affecting the demand for fresh produce in Northern cities. Additionally, winter storms are causing dangerous conditions for transporting fresh produce, with heavy ice and whiteout conditions reported. So there's like a three like it was like a trifecta there. Right, the way in which people are consuming their food is changing, which affects certain commodities. The availability of that food is impacted and then the transportation of that food is impacted.

Speaker 1: 13:39

So, to give you a context, I'm in Buffalo Right now. We have a travel ban in place in my town, orchard Park, which and we have had it since we had it last weekend and they reinstated it again today we're in the middle of the lake effect snowstorm second one back to back within less than a week, dropped over four feet in certain towns and we've still got more coming. So when that happens there's a travel ban. In addition to the travel ban, certain highways are shut down. So route US 90, I 90 has a. Sometimes they'll do a ban of empty trailers because they're too light, they can blow over easily. Or they might have a ban of all tractor trailers because they want them off the road so the plows can clear them before they open the highway back up. Us route 219, which comes off of 90 and goes south into Pennsylvania, is also shut down right now. So think about that If you have Buffalo outbound freight or pick any city where this is happening or inbound massive disruptions right now in the supply chain.

Speaker 3: 14:42

So that specific one have a customer that ships their steel. I don't know if it's directly from Buffalo or through Buffalo. I know you got used to be a lot of steel manufacturing up there, but I'm pretty sure it's there and I know I was talking to them earlier today and their manufacturing facilities are very concerned. They might not be able to stay open because of the specific steel that they'd get from Buffalo and if the storm, the way it's coming in there, like look, we can't get it out of Buffalo and once we can, we can't get it into where we need to because the storm is going to be shifting to where it's delivering to. And they're like basically today they're like we might have like seven or 10 days, depending on the weather, where we literally won't be able to get this. And if we can't like you're talking just for listeners out there Like I've heard and it's all different for different manufacturing facilities, but I've heard estimates that it's like literally upwards of almost like a million dollars a minute for some of these manufacturing plants. If they shut down, right, just can't run. I mean whether it's staff turning it on, turning it on.

Speaker 3: 15:46

Steel mills have huge costs if they can't keep these things running. So I mean these are not small things. It's not like, hey, I needed some inventory and we'll just wait a week to do this. You're talking about hundreds of people working assembly lines and manufacturing plants that if they don't have that material, nobody can go to work and they got to pay time of PTO. I don't even exactly know how all those costs play out, but I know it's a large number because we were talking to them this morning about this. So I mean this is not a small thing.

Speaker 1: 16:16

Yeah, and the other thing too. I mentioned a driving ban, travel ban, so like… Workers can't legally go to work in a lot of places right now, at least in Western New York. So, for example, I can't legally drive my car anywhere in Orchard Park today. If I try to, I could get ticketed. I mean they don't ticket everybody, but like the city of Buffalo, for example, over the weekend when they shut down before the the bills game Gave out, it was like 160 Tickets to people for violin and the driving band. The reason is they want to keep the roads clear so they can get the plows through. So Essential travel can make it like you know, your and all that stuff right. And they said that was actually they're, like they were congrat or like thanking the population, like, oh, you know, it's been worse in years past. We only had to give out 160 tickets this time. So thank you for following the rules, but either way.

Speaker 1: 17:10

So these things cause issues and we've said this before. That bad news gets worse with time. Okay, so if you know something is coming, whether it's a snowstorm or a hurricane or Me tourniquets are hard, as it is kind of happen and they don't always have the warning. But if you know severe weather is coming through, it could spark up things like that. Have a conversation with your customers, with your carriers, who might be already either booked on loads or or Regulars on certain lanes for you, because if you can get ahead of this and figure out an alternative way to make this stuff happen and rearrange, you know different things you're. That's like your true problem solve. That's a low-distance yeah. You're literally doing the job that every freight broker should be aiming to do, instead of just slaying trucks.

Speaker 3: 17:56

Here's the other thing too right, and it relates to produce, but I'll tie it into the steel example too right. So let's say, when things do open up in the steel example out of Buffalo, right, when you haven't got what you need to run your company right, as soon as they open right, what do you think these companies are willing to pay to get team drivers to start running these loads? You know straight through right, they're gonna pay a lot of money to get the product in once things open up right, which creates opportunity and margin for us. Right the same thing.

Speaker 1: 18:31

Let's talk about that the before, during and after.

Speaker 3: 18:34

Why would I go through that produce too? Right, cuz you saw these floods in California, right, we're like it was wiping out like large portions of crops. And if you think about it, right, if you go to any grocery store, there's some things that just are there all year round, right, no matter what the season is, you'll find apples, you'll find bananas, probably find pine apples, like, and again, you'll see different prices, especially with berries. But, like, any time of the year, like I drink blueberry smoothies with raspberries and some other vegetables, right, so like I can buy them any year, the price changes.

Speaker 3: 19:04

What matters to a freight brokerage and our this conversation is when supply drops right, meaning there's not enough Inventory to get it to everyone that should have it right, companies pay more, that's the obvious, but the other thing they do is they've got to pay to ship it faster. Often because there's not access inventory, they can sit on one side or the other, right. So, again, when you see a supply of a commodity Become in short supply, there's not enough of it to go where it normally does Margins on shipments tend to go up, right. So when people always ask, what do we look for in research?

Speaker 3: 19:39

These are the things that I see in news articles that jump out at me. Oh, there's a huge shortage in this commodity. Oh, they're not able to bring any as much as they need to from Mexico to make the shortfall. Also, prices are skyrocketing. Margins are going to go up on that commodity. Right, that's something you can prospect. Those are some cues that you can pick up and just day-to-day News that will help lead your you know search for where to go, for which commodity and what the prospect and this is like Exactly what happened with the COVID shutdowns.

Speaker 1: 20:09

Yes, you had everything. Exactly the same thing it was. That's just a much more exaggerated example of it. So I want to talk through, like, the life cycle of the disaster and how it impacts Trucking, but us as freight brokers, right. So, and I use an example of hurricanes he's in a video that we did about a year ago, so we'll use that exact example.

Speaker 1: 20:30

Okay, so this? But again, this applies to any short-term natural disaster, snowstorms, just severe weather, hurricane, you name it. Okay, we know it's coming. So what happens? Every driver wants to get the hell out of dodge, right. So if a hurricane is aiming, do hit. Just. If they hit the peninsula, just about at least half, if not the entire peninsula is gonna have some sort of impact, but again, times on the size of the storm and all that.

Speaker 1: 21:07

But every single truck wants to get the heck out of there and in their case they only have one direction to drive and that's north, right up 95 or you know, depends what side of the state they're on which means that they will either drive empty and just lose money or they will drive at Super cheap if they can get some kind of load northbound out of there and you know so we're gonna see extremely, extremely low rates. Customers understand this. But if you think about if you have a new, a new hire inside of your customer, that it's their first year in hurricane season in Florida and they they don't have last year's experience or previous years. They, you know, maybe they don't know. These are conversations to have with them to Help them look good and not drop the ball on their job. Right, don't be overpaying before a hurricane because we can get your stuff out of here for practically nothing Because drivers just want to be able to get some kind of money to get out of there and get north.

Speaker 3: 23:12

Right, and it really does depend on the timing too, right, just like anything else, like I, want everyone out there listening to this to think about it. If you were a truck driver and you're in Miami waiting for your load, right, and you see a storm likely to come through in an hour versus a day, right, you're gonna gauge how quickly you can get out versus how much money you can. The more risk you take. The closer you wait to the Storm, the likely the more money you might make. If you get out as one of the last trucks, you might be able to get a good margin. If you leave when the storm is heading in, you're probably gonna get the cheapest rates because Everybody is leaving right and we're not.

Speaker 1: 23:47

We're not our command.

Speaker 3: 23:47

You hang out and try to correct Right, it's just, it's just to get the point across, right, everyone to kind of understand, this is literally what happens. Like you see it, you don't want to get, is a truck driver like what are you gonna do? The hotels Fill up, there's only certain evacuation routes. Like if you can't get out, you can't just sit in your truck and wait out a hurricane. And even if you can get into a hotel room, you don't want your truck outside during a hurricane. So, like I know, that seems obvious, but literally the whole market leaves. So Then what happens? Right storm comes through and then so.

Speaker 1: 24:20

So yeah, let's go during the middle of it and I'm gonna shift to like the snowstorm. Western New York is a better example here because Florida's you know pretty much just nothing is gonna be happening in Florida, whereas Buffalo is a a place that somebody might drive through. That's being impacted in a local, regionalized type of situation. So, for example, if you're hauling the load from Buffalo to I'm sorry Boston to Chicago, you're gonna take I-90 and go right through Buffalo. Right, and if Buffalo's got severe weather or let alone the roads are shut down and you can't legally drive that way, they've got to reroute themself. Maybe they're going to take you know 15 south and hit I-80 and go the southern route. Well, that's going to add extra mileage, it's going to add extra time, and you know it's going to cause delays.

Speaker 1: 25:11

I mean, yeah, you're going to have more congested traffic there because everybody's got to do that. So these things all come into play. So if there's delivery appointments on the other end of this, or it's got to be here at this time, otherwise something happens, you got a backwards plan. You might need to pick that up a day early or reschedule delivery appointment. Think about these projects that like, if the delivery gets there late, they didn't only not have their product At some job sites, like they paid to have people come in, like contractors would come in for an entire day. They've got crane rentals, they've got heavy construction equipment rented, like the puzzle pieces are all together. And if you dropped the ball because you didn't do your part to like forecast this delay, you're definitely going to lose money, let alone possibly your customer, over those kinds of situations. So those are like the in the middle of it. That's the kind of stuff that'll happen. And then afterward right, so think about, we can go back to.

Speaker 1: 26:07

You know your Florida hurricane example.

Speaker 1: 26:10

So afterward business is open back up and not only is there a crazy demand to get all this stuff shipped out, that got held and delayed the last three to five days, now you might have FEMA trying to get in there, trying to get emergency supplies, generator sets, food, water, whatever that relief package looks like.

Speaker 1: 26:31

It's getting there on truck, just like anything else, right? So, though you know, fema doesn't have their own fleet of trucks. They have to rely on the open market when it comes to capacity. So now everybody is fighting for the same capacity to get down to Florida to do whatever it is that has got to be done then. So you're gonna see a huge demand and a finite supply of capacity, so it's gonna go at a premium to get everybody in there. So that's kind of like your before, during and after, and the reason I wanted to walk through that is it might sound obvious to some people, but if you're newer and broke which, like a lot of our listeners are that's the stuff you have to think about. And those impacts happen every single season when it comes to certain regular produce seasons.

Speaker 3: 27:17

Right, it's not just a natural disaster, it's whenever there's a big change in market, man, it's gonna flip that market and that's the thing that I think also like gets overlooked a lot, right? So just think about this for a broker move and loads out anywhere, say, you move, you know, every Tuesday you move a load of widgets from Memphis to Charlotte and every Tuesday the same truck picks up that load. Right, where do you think? How do you think that truck ended up in Memphis every week? Let's call it Wednesday, right? It's usually because on Monday they pick up a load wherever they live call it Idaho, and they deliver on Wednesday to Memphis. And when you need your load picked up, they're there every Wednesday because they deliver that same load there every Wednesday and that's why you have your rate. That's where your truck comes from. So your truck is really dependent not only on what happened that day but what happened before it, right? So, as you pointed out, when the market reshuffles the deck and everything stops, all the trucks that normally would have been there say, the market in Miami opens on Thursday, the hurricane comes through Tuesday, market opens up Thursday and you can start booking trucks. Every truck that would normally be there on Thursday probably isn't there because they didn't run the load they did before that. So what happens is is everybody is using a different truck and accessing the spot market as opposed to who they normally use, and that creates lots of opportunities for everybody, because everybody's scrambling with the same resources to get all their loads picked up at the same time. And again, this is really where the brokers that plan ahead and understand this can help understand and set the right expectations with their customers. Hey, how are you guys shaping up for this? How are you planning? What are you expecting on the other end of this? How many loads do you need to get out? How many loads will you need to get out on the other side of the storm? Have you prepped? Have you talked to any of your carriers? What might you need from us?

Speaker 3: 29:10

Asking these questions is going to go, one, a long way to helping solve this ahead of time as best you can. But two, it's differentiating you from every other broker they work with that didn't think to ask this question and, as they're talking to you, they're thinking well, these guys I've been working with for years didn't ask me this. Why is Nate all of a sudden asking me? Now your trust builds and they start to want to utilize you more. This is your competitive advantage. It's usually really just questions and curiosity and trying to think about what's likely to happen and asking questions around it. You don't need to be super complicated about it, it's like keep it simple. Hey, curious what your plan is, let's see.

Speaker 3: 29:48

This is coming up, because it's not really just these drastic things.

Speaker 3: 29:51

I'll give you another example of where this happens. A lot and it's happening right now is when you see temperatures like you see right now, Like I used to do a ton of work in Chicago every day and you know what happens when you see negative 10 degrees for multiple days on end, most of the trucks don't start. So even a truck that has the driver and they can get to work, they can't get their truck started in time. So maybe it's taking them two, three hours to get some of them warm. Maybe they've got somebody that can keep them running, if they've got that type of staff, but a lot of trucks like literally can't be driven because diesel starts up differently in cold weather than a regular engine. So there's lots of lost capacity. In every one of these examples that creates opportunities for the prospect you're talking to or the customer you have. It's not just the blizzards, the six feet of snow and the hurricanes. It's also two days of below zero weather or the freeze over they had in Texas a year or two ago.

Speaker 1: 30:50

These caused massive disruptions in the entire country's supply chain due to temperature change not just hurricanes, winds and snow, so I had to look this up while you were saying that. So Ken Atamo had a really, really good post today about the cold weather not about a diesel engine starting up, but driver preference. Even so, there are certain drivers that are like I ain't going north of the Mason-Dixon line in the wintertime. You know what I mean? Yeah, they don't. Maybe that's not where they draw the line, but it could be like dude, I do not want to be up in Chicago when it's zero degrees. So he had a cool map. He showed a snapshot from 2021 and again from, I think, current, yeah, today or the 17th. So that's today as we record, and it shows Chicago outbound for the last seven days, which is basically when this cold front has come through. And it's pretty cheap to get yourself to Southern California or South Florida right now. But if you've got to pay drivers way more, if they're going to be going to the Northeast or staying in that Midwest region, like your rate per mile, because drivers are like I'll take a lesser rate to get down where it's warm I don't want to deal with the cold, the snow, the delays, the breakdowns, the maintenance. I just don't want to deal with it and they make that decision and some of it's a business choice, but I would, just as personal preference and the same thing, the map he had from 2021, I'll give you some actual numbers.

Speaker 1: 32:23

So, like Chicago outbound, and this is in the wintertime, this is from a few years ago. If you wanted to go Chicago to Detroit, you're at over $3 a mile. If you want to go to Arizona, you're at under $2 a mile. If you want to go to Texas, you are at just over $2 a mile. And that same concept applies in this current past trailing week where if you've got Chicago down to the South, like Texas, $1.70. Whereas if you're going to be close to Buffalo, you're at almost $3 to Detroit, $3. Because it's cold and there's bad weather and nobody wants to be up here. And again, it's going to also factor in other things like your load to truck ratio in those regions. But weather is a big impact there because if a driver doesn't want to be operating where it's cold, that's going to impact your available truck part of your load to truck ratio.

Speaker 1: 33:18

So those are also great questions to ask drivers, like is there a certain time of year? Like, are there places that you just don't want to go to, like. Some will tell you I don't ever want to go to a Walmart distribution center. Some might tell you regions Like I don't ever want to go to California. Or I don't want to operate north of the Mason Dixon Line in the wintertime because I don't want to deal with cold weather and the maintenance that goes along with it. I don't put chains on my tires and deal of getting stuck on the side of the highway because a bunch of snow dumped on us. So stuff to think about. There we actually had a I've had this happen twice now in the past 10 years with winter extreme cold, so moving potatoes out of the Idaho area where it's negative 10 degrees and this is now no joke. This is the kind of stuff that I've dealt with.

Speaker 1: 34:16

Carriers, when they told me to reefer because it's got to be able to keep the temperature at a certain level, because reefer's don't just cool, they also warm. Seriously, no joke. Second time now they put a propane heater in the back of a dry van and they're like, oh yeah, it'll keep it warm. And what happened? The onions showed up frozen, like idiots, like who the BOL little legally says reefer and the temperature it's got to be running like continuous at. And the shipper and the carrier both are like, yeah, just put a propane heater in there, it's all good. No, in the claim, this and this happened like 2015. I think at another company I was with and again Now this year.

Speaker 3: 35:00

So insulation has value, like there, there's a reason. You need something to be able to keep temperature out and a different temperature in. It's not just the heat On one side or the other. Right, it'd be like going out. To me It'd be like Literally going out in 30 degree weather with a space heater and no coat and wondering why you can't stay warm right.

Speaker 1: 36:35

Exactly keeping the heat in exactly.

Speaker 3: 36:38

But everything to like so, in our winds blowing past this idea trailer. With zero degree wind, like the outside of that Trail is gonna be frozen solid and every potato near it, yes.

Speaker 1: 36:49

So also think about this right. So it you know any kind of reefer load, if you're dealing with extreme cold weather or Extreme hot weather in the summertime, they're going to go through more fuel in that reefer unit on the front of their trailer to maintain a Extremely different temperature than what's outside, and the pre-cooling takes a lot longer too. So either just planning considerations when you're dealing with extreme cold or Extreme hot weather too in the south in the summertime. So the whole takeaway here is like you know, we know, this stuff happens every single year and it's about how you plan for and how you clearly communicate. Sometimes you've got to double and triple check, you know, to make sure that everybody's on the same page as far as what the expectations are with, the settings are and Delivery times, all that stuff.

Speaker 3: 37:38

So okay, so let's transition a little bit. How can you make money using this concept? How do you get more business and more customers doing this?

Speaker 1: 37:48

Well, I think, like any, I mean, I'll give you my answer that you could, you could add on. So I think in how do you make more money or capitalize on any situation? It's to be the guy that goes like the extra mile. So we talk about all time. You want to be an extension of your customers Supply chain. You don't just want to be a transactional freight broker. That's just, hey, what loads you have available today and it's just a very narrow window. You want to be big picture, right.

Speaker 1: 38:13

So if you can go, like I always say, understand what's gonna make your customer think about them, put, put yourself in their shoes, what's gonna make them look good and what's gonna make them look bad or possibly lose their job, get fired, right.

Speaker 1: 38:25

And if I can figure out how to mitigate the things that make them look bad and how to Increase the amount of things that make him look or her look good, that's what I want to do, and so my answer would be if you've got somebody who's newer, you want to make sure you're holding your hand, holding their hand through this entire process and sharing every bit of knowledge you have on upcoming weather and things like that, and then forecasting into.

Speaker 1: 38:48

You know what's gonna happen after the store, when your production starts back up, when you guys start to ship all of your outbound Goods again, we can expect race to be extremely high. So why don't we try and lock down some trucks ahead of time who are looking to get back to wherever this location is, because they you know they want to ship from here to here to set them back up for their next load. So you know that's what I would do is just try to plan ahead here and just Always remember that your customer they've got a boss to, they've got someone who's gonna be reviewing them on how well they get their trucks in and out. They don't care if it's through a broker or an asset-based carrier, they just care that our stuff got moved and our customers got it. So that would be my answer to it what's your take? I have a feeling you're gonna go a little bit different direction.

Speaker 3: 39:33

That's really good.

Speaker 3: 39:34

I was really just going on the prospecting side, like if, when I see these coming through, like that's where I prospect.

Speaker 3: 39:40

So if I see like Chicago freezing over, like and maybe it's like a whole state, I'm probably gonna pick the area with the most prospects to start right, and I'm gonna call them ahead of the storm and then I'm basically my lead in is just gonna be like hey Was giving you a buzz because I work with a few other carriers and your customers in your area Know a huge storms coming through and I'm helping them line up some early options to avoid as much headache as they can.

Speaker 3: 40:06

Just reaching out to see if you guys are prepped and if you're all covered up for the storm, right, like that alone is enough to open up most conversations. For the same reasons we just talked about, most of their other brokers aren't having this conversation Right, your average broker that they're working with is just gonna deal with the problems once they hit them in the face, right? So prospecting ahead of time and not only being proactive to call them is important. But name drop if you've got a customer there and even if you don't Insinuate that you're calling them because you've got other customers in the area and you're helping them plan for this, and you want to make sure that they didn't need anything while you're already getting trucks lined up for the area, right?

Speaker 1: 40:48

So does that call like that, the ambulance chase right?

Speaker 3: 40:50

Yes, ambulance chasing right. Go to where the problems are. That's where you're likely to find opportunities. Right Back in the you know, 30 and 40 years ago, when an ambulance was driving to the hospital from an accident, attorneys would literally follow the ambulance to the hospital, go into the hospital and then ask the patient once they woke up hey, do you want to sue the person that hit you? Because clearly somebody was hurt. Clearly there's a potential for a lawsuit. Go where that potential is right. Don't prospect anywhere. Random might pick the most likely place where people are gonna have an issue that you can solve right, and storms are just really great ways to do that because they already work regionally.

Speaker 1: 41:31

Yeah. So I guess the good thing is like ambulance chasing where it comes from, with the attorneys going after they saw an accident and was it was a hospital, they want to go back. Hey, I'll, you know, I'll represent you and we'll go to the person in charge Gets negative connotation and pretty sure it's illegal too, but in freight. So we use that phrase to like relate to it. But here's the deal like we're Real, I mean real city, we're trying to help out these prospects because they have issues. Remember, if you, if I'm a traffic manager and a storm clears through and I can't get a single truck into my location but our competitor across the streets getting all the trucks because they got better relationships with carriers and brokers, I look bad. It's my job to make sure that I've got a bullpen, a roll dex of these transportation providers right. So you're absolutely right, it's not a it's not a bad thing, it's just a huge opportunity and you know I Love your answer. I think that's a great way to capitalize on it. I'll say that either.

Speaker 3: 42:29

I'll say that I'm like listen, my job is to cover your ass, my job is a broker, is to make you look good, right Like. I say that constantly to prospects and customers because it's true, right Like. If I do my job well, you should look twice as good at your job to your boss and he should have no idea that I'm the reason that you look as good as you do compared to when you weren't using me. Like that's really the value I'm adding. Right, just making that person seem not even seem Objectively perform better, better on time percentage, less issues Like Steven had a really good example. Steven, you want to unmute and walk through the one you just threw in there, so I think it's a pretty good one.

Speaker 2: 43:07

Yeah, yeah, so Mine was more of a long play, but it kind of ties into the whole thing.

Speaker 2: 43:13

So I had a customer of mine that has Product they import that's got a one-year shelf life and they would ship it out of the Northeast to locations in the Midwest and the Southeast. And one of the issues they'd run into as produce season moves up the coast, rates will get higher near the end of the year and they couldn't account for that and they were running into additional charges. So in a conversation that we had I told them well, let's move some of that product, since you have a year, to the Southeast and when rates get higher up there, just ship it out of the Southeast. You'll save some money and you can balance your books a little better. And the the unforeseen Result was that, as new customers as they approach new customers in that area, they were able to get that product to their service. She burned faster and then, because I helped them set that up, I got the freight. So it worked for everybody and they were able to grow their business and I grew with them.

Speaker 1: 44:12

That's awesome and I think I might have told this story before too, but that's something that we're setting up this year as well, with Pierce very likely is warehousing space in Florida.

Speaker 1: 44:22

I mean because literally, the we use the example of Florida with proto season, a lot right, the you know outbound to get a truck to go into Florida when there's nothing to come.

Speaker 1: 44:31

Outbound is you're gonna pay, it's, you know, through the roof and it's. It's the opposite when there's, when the markets the other way. But by having warehousing space set up in one of our facilities in Florida and to move that product that has an available shelf life Of a certain amount of time to get it down there when it's cheap that way You're not overpaying to get a ship down there is gonna save a ton of money. So like, for example, stuff that's trying to go to for peers or Palm Beach or Anywhere on, like the Space Coast is out they caught, or the treasure treasure coast, whatever, from Central Florida now I can get a regional driver Just got to drive, you know, 90 minutes for a delivery and they're gonna be back the same day, versus trying to send somebody from Rochester, new York, all the way down to Florida and I'm gonna be paying through the roof for it, so yeah, I mean that's.

Speaker 1: 45:17

Look at that all three of us getting good ideas and how to capitalize in this stuff there, here's the hard part go do it Right. It's like all this stuff that we teach you guys. The concepts are so basic and so simple, but the amount of people that actually apply all of this and succeed is very, very minimal. It's like any person that reads a book to improve themselves or watches a self-help video or Podcasts like ours, right, be the person that actually applies this stuff and go be a difference maker for your company or your brokerage, right, because everybody else the vast majority won't do it, so you gotta be.

Speaker 1: 45:54

I always say, like, be the, the upper 50 percentile of brokers that go the extra mile, because we have so many in our industry that don't. They're either too inexperienced or they don't have the, the drive or the hustle or the. They don't just. They just don't think that way. They're not wired that way. So go be the one that that goes a little bit further and you're gonna stick out to your prospects and your customers. Good conversation, though this is good. You got anything else on the winter weather I feel like there was a really good discussion on. We tied in produce season and year-round rates fluctuating, and the bills we got it all on this episode.

Speaker 3: 46:32

Yeah, that's pretty comprehensive. I mean we didn't talk much about wildfires, but the same premise really holds with Everything is that they.

Speaker 1: 46:42

That's almost more like your COVID scenario, where it's a much more elongated Time frame. Like a snowstorm might be for 24 hours, it could be for a few days, a hurricane is over within a couple of days, but a wildfire could impact an area for months. You know, I mean, and we don't know how the wind's gonna shift and where it's gonna move to, so wildfires are very unpredictable like that. So, yeah, the same thing with, like you know, tornadoes don't really have much warning, but the same thing will apply afterwards. So, like I'll just we'll head to me like tornadoes or wildfires or anything else.

Speaker 1: 47:18

All I'm coming saying to wrap it up but Even if it doesn't didn't just we couldn't project it and it didn't disrupt shipping before it's gonna have impacts on Damage buildings in the area. You might have plants that are shut down and now you're gonna have opportunities for influx of freight come out of other Locations, fema coming in, all that stuff. There's tons of opportunity and again, we're not trying to be cynical here, but this is the reality. This stuff happens in our industry when bad shit happens.

Speaker 3: 47:46

People need help. That's what we do. It's not cynical, I mean, like it's literally what we do. So I mean, for sure, go where the need is off good stuff.

Speaker 1: 47:56

Make sure to tune in on Tuesday for the final mile. Oh, I did want to say this. Somebody asked in the YouTube comments that replied to it. They said they are watching our final mile, which is our Q&A that comes out Tuesdays. We record it the week before it releases.

Speaker 1: 48:10

They're complaining about no sports talk like you know, big win, bills playing Steelers, and I was like, oh yeah, we didn't know yet. Because it will, we record early. So if you guys ever wonder why we don't talk sports or anything News on the final mile, as because we record it the week before, literally right after this, we record out. It's just it would be way too long of an episode to have them both and we like to break it up into bite-sized pieces for you guys. So check out the final mile for some good questions. On Tuesday and then next Friday You'll get my reaction on the bill's chiefs game Ben. Any final thoughts?

Speaker 3: 48:41

Whether you believe you can or believe you can't, you're right and until next time, the big divisional game in Orchard Park.

Speaker 1: 48:50

Go bills.

About the Author

Freight 360
Freight 360

Freight 360 was born from a vision to share knowledge about transportation with everyone.

To read more about Freight 360, check out full bio here.