I shouldn’t even have to be writing this, because I know it doesn’t apply to 99% of our ladies and gentlemen, but for the 1% or so who don’t get it, here it is. Mercer is a flatbed company, always has been, always will be. There are loads that have to be tarped. Aside from customer requirements, all carriers are under a common law requirement to deliver their cargo in the same shape as it was when it was loaded. Pretty simple stuff.

It does not mean that you present yourself for loading with tarps with holes, cuts or other damage. It does not mean you show the shipper a tarp which has more duct tape on it than vinyl. It does not mean you try to partially tarp a full load because you do not have enough tarps to properly protect the cargo.  It does not mean you try to get out of tarping a load that the shipper wants tarped. If you just don’t like tarps, call JB or Swift or Schneider or one of those other good folks and go pull a van.

I understand that tarps are expensive, freight is slow and rates are down. That’s how this business gets every few years. That is no excuse. We simply cannot afford to lose any shipper because we cannot properly and professionally protect their cargo. The same goes for securement. Ratty straps turn off our customers and burn our safety rating on OOS vehicle securement violations.  If you cannot afford to do it right, you probably don’t need to be doing it…at least not at Mercer. 

When you pay a mechanic to work on your engine, you don’t expect to see him use a crescent wrench or a set of channel locks on a 12 point torque bolt. Billion dollar manufacturing corporations do not expect one of the largest flatbed carriers in the country to furnish a unit that is not properly equipped to do the job they are paying to have done.  That is not what Mercer is about. Never has been and it’s not going to start now.

The rules are getting tougher and the stakes are getting higher in this business. It takes a lot to be an owner-operator in today’s environment. I’ve mentioned that several times here and elsewhere.  I can’t sugarcoat it or whitewash it. Everyone who survives in this business today has got to get it right. Every day, every trip.