FreightWaves CEO Fuller offers advice for truckers hauling FEMA loads

Even as city, state and federal authorities urge residents to flee in the face of high winds and flooding, truckers are answering the call to transport emergency supplies to areas where hurricanes are expected to strike.

However, how truckers answer that call has a huge impact on when, how and how much they get paid, points out Craig Fuller, CEO of FreightWaves.

“Hurricane relief loads provide an opportunity for trucking companies to demonstrate to the public how essential trucking is, no matter what a mission’s challenges are,” Fuller told FreightWaves Monday.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is urging all residents to prepare for Hurricane Ian, described as unpredictable, as it batters the state.

Monday morning, Ian was a Category 1 hurricanebut according to the National Hurricane Center, “further rapid strengthening is expected today.”

The National Hurricane Center updates the likely path of Hurricane Ian on Monday. (Photo credit: NOAA)

Fuller has some tips for truckers considering hauling Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) loads, which brokers advertise at high rates but often come with pitfalls.

Years before founding FreightWaves, Fuller ran Xpress Direct, the on-demand emergency unit of US Xpress, from 2002 to 2005. During his four years of hurricane management, his division handled more than 20 000 shipments and billed over $100 million. of revenue in disaster relief expenses alone.

Before Hurricane Ian’s unpredictable landfall, truckers can expect to see many loads of bottled water and prep supplies like plywood, gas cans, duct tape, batteries and flashlights to be dispatched to staging areas, Fuller said.

FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller explains what to look out for when hauling FEMA loads (Picture: FreightWaves)

What to expect when transporting FEMA loads

As trucking demand will increase and rates could skyrocket, it’s important for truckers to ensure daily detention rates are incorporated into their confirmation sheets, Fuller said. Often it can take days or even weeks for the trucks to be unloaded, which can be costly if the detention allowance is not built into the driver’s daily rate.

“It’s a big deal for trucking companies if they’ve never hauled FEMA disaster relief loads before, and some of the brokers involved in the process can take advantage of that,” Fuller said during a previous appearance on What The Truck?! ?. “They may not pay you the detention, which is BS, because the feds are paying the broker’s detention. They’ll ask you for papers, but make sure you get paid for detention, because it’s your gear and you’re the one stuck.

Be prepared for a slow payment

Truckers hauling FEMA loads should not expect to be paid immediately because freight brokers must first submit documents to FEMA, which can be a long and exhausting process.

“What I would recommend is to go in and find someone who can expedite your payment, maybe a fast payment service or a factoring company that can actually help pay those freight bills. “, said Fuller. “Because if you don’t, you’re going to have problems getting paid. Also, put everything in writing: make sure you have your confirmation sheets with detention, all in writing.

Prepare for chaos in staging areas

According to Fuller, potentially extended delays in unloading supplies, even critical ones, require some planning, as any decision requires the coordination of local, state and federal authorities before cargo can be delivered.

“You’ll be dealing with government officials, many of whom are unfamiliar with logistics and don’t understand what it takes to manage such projects,” he wrote in a previous post on .

Fuller said drivers should stock up on groceries, possibly prepare for no cellphone service and rely on their CB radios in anticipation of long waits. Fueling up before entering the staging area is essential as many gas stations are usually closed due to high winds or flooding.

“The hurricane relief is the greatest dog-and-pony show you’ll ever see in trucking,” Fuller said. “But there is a certain satisfaction in being able to help people who are suffering.”

For detailed forecast information, follow the National Hurricane Center here.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to FreightWaves and FWNOW for updates.

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