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Competing with the “undead”


Yesterday morning another informative Driving for Profit seminar was hosted by NAL Insurance and KRTS Transportation Specialists. As always, it was well worth attending. These events provide practical, real-world advice at an affordable rate and allow participants to be back in the office for the afternoon.
The most recent edition featured Ray Haight, who recently completed his term as chair of the Truckload Carriers Association. It also included tips on business networking from networking guru Allison Graham, and an insightful presentation on how to respond to accidents by Trucknews.com’s resident blogger (not to mention, general manager of Caravan Logistics), Kevin Snobel.
For his part, Haight discussed how to conduct a ‘SWOT Test’ (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
His presentation will be covered in an upcoming issue of Truck News, but in the meantime, I wanted to share an interesting observation from Haight that came out of the ‘Threats’ portion of his presentation.
And that is the continuing threat from the lingering “undead.”
Haight pointed out that fleet bankruptcies are well below what was anticipated and the reason for that is quite simple. Banks and finance companies, which would traditionally move in on a trucking company that’s on the brink and repossess its assets, now place very little value in those assets. It’s a sad state of affairs when the banks see so little value in a trucking company’s equipment that they’d rather simply give them more rope with which to hang themselves.
Instead of closing in and repossessing the assets of troubled trucking companies, according to Haight, finance providers and banks are giving these fleets more time to “dig themselves out” of trouble.
The result, in many cases, is simply prolonging the inevitable and allowing these companies to die a slow death. In the meantime, they continue to operate as what Haight referred to the “undead” – cutting rates out of desperation and providing more headaches to well-run carriers who find themselves competing with “companies that shouldn’t even be in business.”
Yet another challenge that trucking companies could do without. However, fortunately it wasn’t all doom and gloom at the seminar. Haight also highlighted some ‘Opportunities’ which simply didn’t exist when the industry was firing on all cylinders. I’ll cover those in an upcoming blog entry as well as the June issues of Truck News and Truck West.


James Menzies

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.
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