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The trucking industry’s attempts to get President Trump’s attention appear to have worked, as the president acknowledged a big challenge imminently threatening to put truckers out of business – low shipping rates.
During an interview with "Fox & Friends" on Friday, Trump said truckers are “price gouged,” referring to complaints that brokers may be tampering with the price transactions they set up between truck drivers and shippers.
“All they want is to be treated fairly,” Trump said. “And we’re going to treat them fairly. What they’re asking is almost nothing in many cases … we’re going to take care of them.”
Over the weekend, drivers lined their big rigs up along Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., to protest low shipping rates.
According to data from freight and analytics firm DAT, rates as of April 30 had fallen to five-year lows for both the reefer and flatbed equipment categories. For dry van freight, the national average was just $1.64 per mile.
In some areas, drivers are being offered rates of less than $1 per mile.
There is a debate within the industry over whether natural market forces or brokers are to blame for driving rates lower. Brokers help coordinate the transaction between the trucker and the shipper and make a profit margin off of the spread.
The shipping rate issue has gotten so bad that the industry wrote a letter to Congress this week, asking for the government to regulate the transactional market and increase price transparency. It is arguing that brokers are hiding transaction records, leading many to believe they could be taking unfair commissions. The secrecy would give them increased pricing power.
An industry representative told FOX Business' Blake Burman on Friday that the White House is "fully aware" of the shipping rates issue, and that the administration has already helped out in other ways – for example it provided personal protective equipment to drivers at rest stops throughout the U.S.
As previously reported by FOX Business, amid a record number of U.S. job losses in April – the truck transportation sector suffered 88,300 lost positions.