In his column "if you want it done right..." (FastLane, May 2006), Clifford Lynch implied that there are some jobs that only a private fleet can handle. In my opinion, this is simply incorrect. I have spent the last 11 years working for JB Hunt's Dedicated Contract Services (DCS) division, and contrary to Mr. Lynch's assertions, there are indeed companies out there that can perform difficult, labor-intensive multi-stop deliveries in a local environment (250 miles or less).
At JB Hunt, we routinely deliver products directly to job sites and/or homes—using forklifts attached to the back of flatbed trailers, I might add. We also deliver to dialysis clinics, make unattended deliveries, and deliver countless shipments to drug stores and dollar stores in some of the nation's most congested metropolitan areas.
At a time when trucks are getting more expensive, fuel prices are soaring, and drivers are getting harder to find (and keep), why would one say "there has never been a better time to consider mustering a private fleet"? I don't see why you would consider it if you can get the same great service from a contract carrier, along with the buying power, the recruiting infrastructure, the state-of-the-art technology, the professional drivers, and the insulation from worker's comp and litigation claims that a large carrier can provide. In fact, we'll even use customer decals and logos on our trucks and trailers so our customers can retain the marketing advantage of having a fleet of "moving billboards."
With all of the issues facing shippers today, now is the best time to consider mustering a dedicated contract carriage fleet. After all, how often do you get to eat your cake and have it, too?
Christopher DiPasquale, JB Hunt Transport Inc.