A group of over 75 truckers protesting low freight rates, high operational costs and additional freight broker regulations partially blocking Interstate 610 in Houston around 2pm, April 20st.
The group is reportedly asking for additional freight broker regulations and transparency, as they feel freight brokers are keeping additional profits as rates continue to plummet. Drivers held a huge sign that reads, “We are the resistance. Honest prices on loads. Fair fees from insurance companies. Broker regulations.” A long line of trucks was stopped on the right side of the freeway, forcing police to shut down the freeway to traffic.
Police issued a briefing at 7pm est April 20th advising of 75 truckers being cited with Class C misdemeanors, and one woman was arrested for inciting a riot and obstructing the highway, both misdemeanors. The police spokesperson told reporters during the briefing that the drivers were protesting “non-payment.”
This protest is likely the first of many in the trucking industry as small owner operators (drivers who own their trucks) are feeling the impacts of the coronavirus first hand. Many shippers and receivers have been forced to close either due to restrictions put into place by local and state governments limiting non-essential businesses, or production is delayed due to employees calling out sick as a result of COVID.
These business closures have caused a flood of additional trucks who were previously working dedicated freight to move over to the “spot market” which coupled with the reduced load volume causes rates to reach all time lows.
This story will be updated as more detail becomes available.