Written by Paul Mugerditchian, DTI President
“COVID-19” or “coronavirus” are words that none of us knew six months ago. I know I’m not just speaking for myself when I say everyone has seen a rapid pace of change over the last few months, and hopefully, our company and country are on the road to recovery.
We saw some of our customers, who exclusively serve food away from home, have volume drops as much as 80-90 percent. While our business was never off that much, we made the decision to act more as a carrier to give drivers work where we could at least cover a good portion of Dot Transportation, Inc. (DTI) costs.
An Increase in Custom Hauls at Dot
We custom haul every day of the week and have for years. We normally custom haul to eliminate empty miles or match up freight on a transfer lane. In a normal week, we would haul roughly 300 loads to fill the empty-miles need for our business. We saw the need to grow custom hauls up to 1,000 loads per week if rates would allow. We’ve hauled things like:
- Grocery essentials
Many of our drivers had never taken a custom haul in the past and were happy for the work. We’ve had to custom haul as a measure to keep drivers busy and service other segments of the economy where freight is available.
Becoming Freight Representatives
Clint McDonald and his team mobilized resources from various other departments to become almost instant freight representatives. Freight representatives go out and find loads for our drivers through either supplier contacts or a broker network to keep our wheels moving. His team, along with many others in Dot/DTI have contributed in major ways over the last several months to provide drivers work.
Needless to say, the easy thing for DTI to do in this pandemic would be to not branch out and just let drivers know we would call them back when we have work. We took the more creative route and said where freight rates make sense, we will act as a carrier and haul to serve a purpose and keep our drivers busy.
Team Work to Fill the Gap
I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to do. Rates have not always stayed high enough to where we could give drivers work in all instances, but we have done the best we can in a rough situation.
I want to thank drivers for their willingness to go places they had never traveled before, work on schedules they may not have worked in the past, and most likely, been out for longer periods of time on the road with more layovers than we have planned in our core business.
We’ve done our best to fill the gap that COVID-19 created. I want to thank everyone for pulling together and working as a team in this world pandemic.