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Brazil forced to hire Colombian truckers due to labor shortages

Brazilian trucking companies are hiring Colombian truckers due to labor shortages in some areas, such as Parana, a state on the border with Argentina and Paraguay, press reports said Sunday.

Brazil has a shortage of more than 100,000 truckers, with the biggest problems reported in Parana, a big agriculture and trade center, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper said.

Ten truckers from Colombia have started a training program and nearly 230 other truckers from that country are expected to arrive in Brazil, the Parana Freight Transportation Company Association, or Setcepar, said.

Colombian truckers will earn 40 percent more than they did at home and will receive all the benefits required by law, Setcepar president Gilberto Cantu said.

The training program launched in Parana is expected to spread to other states with shortages of truckers, Cantu said.

About 11,000 truckers have been trained since 2011, but that number is "insufficient" to meet demand, the National Transportation Association, or CNT, said.

A free program has been created to train 50,000 drivers, helping them obtain their licenses and teaching them to operate trucks, the CNT said.

Young people signing up for the program must agree to work for at least two years in the industry, which has been plagued by burnout among truck drivers, who the insurance industry says are responsible for two-thirds of the traffic accidents in Brazil. EFE


State of Trucking: From Corruption to Innovation

There is one word for the current state of the trucking industry: corrupt. No one wants to say it, but they can't deny it. I'm sure most of you were prepared for a typical article on the transportation industry...


There is one word for the current state of the trucking industry: corrupt. No one wants to say it, but they can't deny it. I'm sure most of you were prepared for a typical article on the transportation industry, providing statistics on the state of America's manufacturing, the number of new crushing regulations or this year's truck-to-load ratios and what each of these means for 2014. If you're interested in that information, you can find it by turning on CNN or subscribing to any number of the load boards available to you today. What you won't get from those sources, however, is the true state of the industry. The state it has been in for many, many years. The state that benefits the few and sacrifices the many. The state that is now having a devastating effect on the economy at large. The underbelly of trucking is full of illusion and secrecy. Most shipping companies have no idea of the massive and unnecessary embedded costs they're paying for transportation. They're unaware of the sleight of hand being used in carrier contracting and how the "spot market" is simply a reflection of all of these embedded costs, not a sampling of the true market. Small carriers, working on razor-thin margins, are now transporting more than 80 percent of our nation's freight without ever having direct contact with the shipper. Big trucking stands between small carriers and shipping companies, continuing to allow for more embedded costs, illusive numbers and unknown players. All of this adds up to little to no fleet expansion with some carriers closing the doors all together.

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State of Trucking: From Corruption to Innovation

As margins become smaller, carriers cannot afford to pay their drivers desirable salaries, and truckers leave the industry for more lucrative options.

It doesn't take long to see that a driver shortage means a carrier shortage. A carrier shortage means an increase in costs for shippers to secure transport services. Additional transport costs will be packed into the cost of the product itself and passed on to every retail shelf in the country. None of this is the fault of the shipper, the small carrier or the truck driver. They are simply trying to run their businesses and perform their often thankless jobs. They don't have time to employ detective agencies or build industry-changing technologies to root out the corruption and make lasting change. They're simply working in the system provided. Meanwhile, you can count on large brokers to follow suit after C.H. Robinson's announcement to increase their brokerage margins in late January of this year. Brokers controlling the ebb and flow of the spot market undoubtedly will mean an increase in spot market rates across the board. This perfect storm has been brewing for several years, but it has never been in the interest of transportation's power players to make a game-changing decision. Despite the current state of the industry, there are glimmers of hope on the horizon. In 2013, we saw massive investment in transportation technology from the private sector. We saw completely new ways of freight brokering, load tracking, invoicing and auditing, all of which help to remove embedded industry costs. To compare, past typical industry advancements have included things such as new transportation management system features or faster factoring services for just a bit more of the carrier's pay, further marrying shippers and carriers to the current process. Such changes have made innovation seem like an inconceivable gamble. With any new technology, education, acceptance and utilization take time. As transportation moves further into 2014, I predict illumination, new leaders to emerge out of necessity. I predict more freedom through choice from great innovators who continue to fulfill needs in the transportation industry. There will be a paradigm shift so great that, with any luck, today's version of the industry will become unrecognizable. Although we may all soon enough have no choice, I, for one, will be thrilled to leave the corruption and secrecy in the dust.

By Dawn Strobel