Canvas Tarps and Cargo Control Here is a hypothetical scenario between a customer and truck driver who have a slight difference in opinion of how to control and protect cargo. A truck driver arrives to pick up a load from a well-paying customer who insists on using canvas tarps. The trucker is no fan of canvas, being that it is a much heavier material and can be a bit tedious to manage without assistance. But canvas is what the customer wants, so canvas is what the truck driver uses. Truck drivers may spend some time and energy mulling over their difference in view points with shippers about cargo control and tarping. From our point of view, it is wasted time and energy. Shippers and receivers are paying for the service that truckers provide. Without those shippers and receivers, it would be hard to imagine how cargo management would take place smoothly. Also building a trusting relationship with both, shippers and receivers results in more trucking business. The Shipper’s View of Cargo One of the reasons truck drivers struggle with cargo control and carving requirements is a lack of understanding of how shippers and receivers view cargo. This is understandable as each is a subject matter expert in their own right. In fact, truckers view cargo in an entirely different way – as we will explain in the next section. As for shippers and receivers, they see cargo in one of several ways. First, the cargo a shipper sends on the back of a flatbed truck can be viewed as a source of income. Let’s say the shipper is a manufacturer of paver stones and bricks. Every load sent out on the back of a truck represents a revenue stream. Maximizing revenue is about making sure loads get to their destinations fully intact and without damage. Cargo control and tarping are seen as tools for maximizing revenue streams. Receivers view cargo in much the same way, though a bit more indirectly. A retailer receiving a load of paver stones and bricks may see those individual pieces as revenue generators, but they are also viewed as part of a much larger inventory that speaks volumes about the retailer’s reputation as a supplier. The retailer cannot afford damaged or blemished products that could harm the business’s reputation. A third way of viewing cargo is a bit more personal. Take the owner of several classic cars as an example. Those cars are more than just frames with four wheels and an engine. Classic car collectors often treat their vehicles as parts of an extended family. They are investments that are highly personal and, as such, involve an emotional attachment. Truckers would expect a classic car owner to require canvas tarps instead of poly. Canvas is safer for a car’s delicate finish.
The Driver’s View of Cargo Conflict between truckers and shippers/receivers can arise because of the driver’s different view. For the average truck driver, there is no personal or emotional attachment to cargo. The cargo is not seen as a direct revenue stream either. The trucker is being paid for a service, not for the product on the back of the trailer. Finn Murphy, a veteran truck driver and mover interviewed by FleetOwner this past July, refers to this view among truckers as the ‘Buddhist view of attachment’. He explains that drivers do not attach any intrinsic value to the cargo they are carrying. It is just freight. Still, Murphy recognizes the trucker’s responsibility to protect that freight at all costs for the benefit of shippers and receivers. A shipper or receiver may require the use of canvas tarps for any number of reasons. That’s fine. It’s really up to them to decide how they want their cargo protected from point A to point B. Despite the Buddhist view of attachment, it is up to truck drivers to do what makes customers happy.