In remarks made on the popular morning news program Fox and Friends on May 8, President Donald Trump vowed his support for truckers in their fight against alleged price gouging. Trump made his comments as truckers have been rallying in Washington D.C. with dozens of trucks parked near the White House.
Truckers claim they are being taken advantage of by brokers and third-party logistics companies during the coronavirus health crisis. Spot rates have cratered as the pandemic has forced the U.S. economy into recession.
Trump said, “Oh, they are price gouged…all they want is to be treated fairly and we’re going to treat them fairly.” But what Trump means by this is still a mystery. At this point, the Department of Justice is seeking evidence of possible antitrust violations before launching an investigation into business practices and records of freight brokers and third-party logistics companies.
Antitrust law violations, however, are quite difficult to prove. One avenue may be to force brokers to provide more transparency into records of transactions between them and small business and independent truckers. This is precisely what trucking lobbyists are currently hoping Congress will do as they have petitioned all 535 members of the House and Senate to look into the matter.
While many truckers are accusing freight brokers of using overcapacity as an excuse for declining rates, brokers argue the lower rates are simply a product of supply and demand in a free market economy.
Nevertheless, truckers appear to have a strong ally in Trump who told Fox about the rally,
“In fact, they were in front of the White House. We had, must have been, looked like a thousand trucks. They were honking, and then I actually sent representatives out…they were honking all day and they’re great people and they’re people that like me. They like Trump.”