It is quite shocking how clueless people in "professional journalism" are. It is even more sad how easy it is to obtain real facts and use them to accurately report on a story. Unfortunately, such is the case in 2016 America.
So, Amazon bought some trailers. It took me less than five seconds to find a story that shows that Amazon did NOT buy " thousands of branded semi-trucks" as this Wall Street Journal Blog post says. So before we even begin, they are reporting, or at least inferring, bad information. The way the WSJ Blog and this story report it, you would think that Amazon just bought an entire fleet of tractor-trailers. They use words and phrases like "THREAT" and "The announcement sent shudders through the trucking industry" when in their own piece, it says, “Amazon’s trailer purchases are having little to no impact on our truckload segment," that from the CEO of Swift Transportation.
Why would Amazon buy trailers? If I am a "journalist" you would think I'd like to answer that question. They did. Kind of. The blog post mentioned a patent application filed by Amazon in 2014 that shows them using trucks as mini-distribution centers. Ok, that's fine. But that isn't today. That is for another time in the future. Why do they need their own trailers TODAY? I believe the answer is twofold.
1. They need trailer capacity and they don't want to wait on carriers to provide them. If they have their own fleet, the trailers can be loaded and they aren't tied to one company to pull it. Anyone can pull it. It's more efficient that way.
2. The overwhelming majority of trucking companies are small. JB Hunt, Swift, Schneider, Covenant, USXpress, and the like are easy to see because there are a lot of them. They have recognizable brands. Small carriers (again, the majority) are more anonymous. You won't know it by looking at one truck if they have 5 trucks or 500 trucks when they blend in with three million others. Small carriers can offer services in a way that huge carriers can't. Small carriers can be more selective in who they hire. The most seasoned drivers in the business can be found working for small carriers, OR as owner-operators even working inside the big carriers like Landstar or FedEx. Small carriers are more regional and you product has a better chance of making it to delivery. This is, in my opinion, what is behind the Amazon trailer purchase.
wner/operators and small carriers have an enormous opportunity in front of them. This is a time when we can show off and strut our stuff. We can provide a BETTER SERVICE than the big companies. The big companies already know it. It's time that we step into our identity as Customer Service Experts and show the market what we can do. THAT is why you see words like "THREAT" and "SHUDDER." The independent owner/operator is the big company's biggest threat. Sure, they can come in with big branding and a sales force, but they can't offer what we can - pride, efficiency, and personal service. Think that doesn't matter to Amazon? It's probably time for you to stop watching the "news" and the media's portrayal of business people (which is overwhelmingly negative).
I'm tired of these media companies doing the bidding of the large corporations. They hand out baseless stories like this and We The Sheeple lap it up like a thirsty dog. Then the corporations use that fear to get government bureaucrats to pass legislation that regulates their competition out of business. They put up road blocks that we can't afford to go around (EPA regulations, Hours of Service changes). It's the only tool at their disposal. They know they can't out serve us.
This industry desperately needs more owner/operators. We need more independents and less company driver robots. We also need less bickering and fighting over rates. We need a more sound understanding of basic, fundamental economics. We live in the most prosperous time in the whole of human history. It should be considered an even bigger feat what we've been able to do in spite of nearly 16 years of George W. Obama and the destructive regulations, failed monetary policy, and bailouts we have had to endure.
See the future. The internet has brought about unprecedented change. Soon, VERY soon, we (individuals) will be able to buy anyTHING, from anyONE, from anyWHERE, and there is absolutely nothing government bureaucrats can do to stop it or slow it down. We are about to see free trade like nothing ever before. I can't even yet fathom it. Who is going to haul all that free trade? WE ARE. The independent owner/operator may soon be one of the most important figures in the coming New Economy. There may be a few dark days during the transition, so we need to get rid of all of our debts and have as solid a foundation as possible, but once the new way of trading comes online, get ready, because it is going to be incredible.