Thumbs up for transparency

Mike Goldberg couldn’t decide if he was more disgusted at the federal government or at his broker.

Goldberg – a trucker who runs a fleet out of Cincinnati, OH – had recently booked a load to haul about 1,500 pounds of landing gear from Maryland with stops in Arizona, ending up in California. The shipper – the Department of Defense – was paying a broker, who in turn paid Goldberg’s 247 Trucking Company $2,500.

Goldberg was happy with the $2,500, a fair rate he believed for hauling 10 feet worth of freight on a flatbed. Then he saw the bill of lading.

The shipper – the U.S. Department of Defense – was paying the broker $6,000 – which Goldberg considered a waste of taxpayer money and a boon to brokers.

“I’m just so angry with the government paying somebody like this,” Goldberg told me. “The brokers shouldn’t even have this opportunity. The same is true with trucking companies. We’re ripping ourselves off; this is our money.”

OOIDA worked closely with bill sponsors in writing and educating other lawmakers on the “Truth in Reliable Understanding of Consumer Costs Act,” or TRUCC Act, which would require a 100 percent pass-through of fuel surcharges paid by the shipper to go to the person paying for fuel and would support total transparency between brokers and small-business truckers.

Goldberg already has contacted Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, who has supported several owner-operator issues and who has been quoted repeatedly in Land Line. Brown, in fact, has taken a strong interest in transparency in trucking.

In addition, OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer discussed transparency in trucking when he met with then President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team in Chicago on Nov. 24, 2008.

Watch for transparency to be one hot topic in ’09. LL