On The Road Again For Truckers

by Donna McCollum

Roads are returning to normal around East Texas. That is good news for the transportation industry.   Many manufacturers around East Texas depend on deliveries made by truck drivers, but this week, a lot of those deliveries have been stalled by the icy roads.

The truck terminal at Lone Star Feed and Fertilizer in Nacogdoches is maintaining a steady pace. The fleet of over 20 trucks wants to be caught up on deliveries by the end of the week. Operating supervisor Elias Alvarado said, "We try to catch up. We try to make sure we get back on track as soon as possible. We had eight loads that were canceled yesterday due to the weather."

They weren't alone. The brakes were put on many truckers when a 300 mile stretch of Interstate 10 was closed due to icy weather, and it was slow going on other roadways. Lone Star's hauler, J.B.Hunt, decided to play it safe. Alvarado said, "We were concerned about our drivers and the safety of other drivers on the road, and we didn't want anything to happen, so we went ahead and canceled a lot of loads that went out."

For decades, Lone Star Feed has done its own hauling, but just six months ago, the company contracted with J.B. Hunt.  It's a trend among industries to outsource transportation. Owners are freed from most liability, fuel costs, and delivery deadlines.

The highways are open now, but that doesn't mean truckers are on the road again. Cedric Miranda waits in a truck stop for dispatch orders. He wants a load to haul back to Colorado.     "The problem is all the trucks in Texas out here and there's not enough loads going out of Texas. There are so many trucks out here, so we're just sitting tight for right now," explained Miranda. And that's something not any trucker can do for too much longer.