July August 2005




Surcharge through Solidarity Rally

Northwest Log Truckers Cooperative addresses serious concerns regarding fuels issues

By Sherrie Bond

Over 300 log trucks from across Washington and Oregon rolled into the historic timber town of Montesano, Wash., June 4 in a show of solidarity to address skyrocketing fuel prices and hauling surcharges. With just under 40 percent of gross revenues going into the fuel tanks, small business operators are facing a critical decision of fuel versus safety. Soaring diesel prices are impinging on maintenance and repair of equipment leading to serious safety concerns. Operating costs vary from owner to owner, but all agree they can’t continue under present conditions. Speakers addressing those issues encouraged truckers to work cooperatively with their contractors, presenting bottom line costs when applying a fuel surcharge to their invoicing.

Bill Pickell, General Manager of Washington Contract Loggers Association, spoke of millions of board feet in timber that the field of over 300 trucks represented and the financial impact for shippers if logs were left on the landing for lack of fuel to haul them from stump to dump. Other speakers included Sherrie Bond, President of the Lewis County Chapter of NWLTC, Brian Gallagher, Executive Director NWLTC, Jim Neilsen, NWLTC Executive Treasurer NWLTC and Lon Michaelis, NWLTC Co-Director. Kirby Wiblbur, talk show host of Radio KVI was also on hand .

Once the speakers were finished the mic was opened to the attendees and several stepped up to voice their concerns. As we wait for government intervention attending to supply and demand of crude oil, the future of the timber industry is in crucial balance until a solution can be reached between timber growers, contract loggers and log truckers to cover rising fuel costs. The movement of “Surcharge through Solidarity” is reaching critical mass. In June members of the NWLTC’s Kalispell, Mont. Chapter parked their rigs for nine days until Plum Creek Timber agreed to a fuel surcharge to meet operating expenditures and safety concerns. This is a step in the right direction, but there’s a long haul ahead if log truckers are going to survive this insanity at the pump. It is forecast that crude will reach $70 per barrel by Labor Day. Expect more owner/operators to park in protest.


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This page was last updated on Tuesday, October 18, 2005