Whistleblower Exposes Excesses in $650 Billion Transportation Industry

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Transportation insider Paul Todd has written a scathing new exposé fingering freight brokers and agents as villains of the U. S. economy because they cost each and every American consumer an additional $100 to $400 per month to pay for goods, products, and services needed for daily living.

Transportation insider Paul Todd has written a scathing new exposé fingering freight brokers and agents as villains of the U. S. economy because they cost each and every American consumer an additional $100 to $400 per month to pay for goods, products, and services needed for daily living. In Industry of Thieves, published by Rose Dog Books, Todd discloses how both businesses and drivers are exploited by freight brokers and agents who mark up the costs of transportation by 20 to 60 percent for the sole purpose of enriching themselves. Having no real options, businesses then pass on the inflated prices to American consumers, thereby decreasing the amount of money available to them for paying mortgages, health care costs, and other vital obligations.

Decades ago the U.S. government deregulated the transportation industry with the hope that shipping costs would decrease. Competition was thought to be the factor that would cause shippers to fight to gain customers by providing better service at lower prices. Deregulation of the industry did work, according to Todd, but prices increased because of the greed of a small group of intermediaries, freight brokers and freight agents, who find a truck to haul freight for a business or find a business in need of hauling for a trucker. These companies operate without rules or regulation and in the end take too much off the gross so that consumers of goods and services are penalized. Todd compares these broker and agents to the scions of the financial industry, which was not adequately regulated for the last several decades. This tragic failure to regulate the terms under which banks and brokerage houses operated led to the worldwide banking and financial collapse that triggered our current severe economic recession.

In 2008 truckers struck for lower fuel prices. They successful got brokers and agents to pay increases in fuel costs, but the brokers then simply cut the drivers' rates, so that in the end the drivers were no better off. Truckers were attempting to control fuel costs, which no one can control. The real issue for truckers is the unregulated state of freight brokers and agents. Todd suggests that government intervention may be the only means for solving this critical problem for drivers, businesses, and consumers.

Todd proposes a mandate of no more than 10 percent of the gross shipping charges for freight brokers and agents. He puts forward the idea that all shippers should pay fuel surcharges, to get this volatile cost out of the control of the brokers. He insists that all parties operate with full disclosure and transparency. He also insists that double brokering, a way of marking up the intermediary's costs twice, should be strictly prohibited.

Failing this kind of regulation, Todd recommends that businesses write contract addenda to agreements with brokers and agents that restrict and clearly describe surcharges and fees. He also suggests businesses should investigate hiring their own transportation managers to book their own trucks to haul their loads, thereby eliminating the costly intermediate service provided by brokers and agents.

Paul Todd has a background in logistics, warehousing, and transportation. He has worked in the trucking industry for over fourteen years, as terminal manager, shipping manager, operations manager, logistics analyst, dispatcher, trucking company owner, and consultant. Industry of Thieves is his call for action, a cry for businesses, drivers, and consumers to come together to actualize urgently needed changes in one of our largest industries so that, in the end, the American people are able to pay a fair price for the things they buy.

For more information on Industry of Thieves (paperback, $12.00, ISBN 978-1-4349-9378-6) contact Rose Dog Books at 1-800-834-1803 or http://www.rosedogbookstore.com.

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Jessica Cunningham-Stillwell
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