Is trucking logging? Do loggers need to worry with it? We know loggers are always worried about it because that’s the only way to get paid. We know relatively small loggers across the country who still run a low-boy and one or two rigs because they know they can put a truck on the landing any time, exactly when and where they want it. This goes for larger loggers who may be going with almost all contract haulers as well. Yet those two or three trucks opens a smaller logging company to the same headaches and challenges as one running 10-20 trucks—and those liabilities may be much more significant for a smaller outfit.
One company that’s seeing the logging industry’s challenges as an opportunity is JB Hunt out of Arkansas, which is making a concerted effort to provide capacity. We’ll cover that more in detail in a future issue, but during a presentation in Coeur d’Alene a company representative talked about its capabilities and what they can bring to the table.
With almost every truck-running logger out there struggling to fill seats, larger companies can bring more resources— and more drivers—to the table. As ALC board member Richard Schwab of MA Rigoni in Florida noted, “We have to look at things differently, and there are different ways to do what we’ve always done.”
The ALC’s Safe Routes Act may be on the fade. Promoting legislation that allows trucks to operate on the much safer interstate highway system as been a big ALC priority for several years, but that may be changing. Talks with transportation lobbyists have revealed the steep uphill climb such legislation has since it’s a blanket, nationwide policy.
Instead, look for state logging groups to pursue “carve-outs” of specific interstate routes and segments where log trucks are legal on a state-by-state basis. Some states have had success doing “carve-outs,” others, not so much. Look for ALC’s “Safe Routes” strategy to shift toward supporting such efforts.