OK, I may be asking for it here but I'm just going to ask. I'm not asking for your secrets or your brokers, just asking for a little direction on learning lanes in an area I want to spend more time in but know nothing about, the western states.
I'm an independent O/O, I dispatch myself and am set up with 50ish brokers all from the boards in the last year give or take. I live in the Southeast and primarily run Southeast to Midwest lanes but I get bored with the 500 mile radius and like to take a long trip on occasion. I'd ideally like to do a long trip out west every month or 6 weeks but I'm a one man and not looking or able to commit to anything dedicated.
I'm hoping some will just chime in with their experience here. I find it pretty easy to get loads from the Southeast to a few places. I'm trying to make this easy to follow so I'll list them this way (below), and yes I study the available trucks on the boards everywhere I go or think I might go. There's probably a lot of obvious ones to some of you with a few year's experience out there that I don't know. If you have something you'd rather not share on here feel free to PM. If you're willing to share I appreciate it.
Cities I know a bit about (and my experience)
Phoenix: decent in, decent out
SLC: decent in, bad getting out
Denver (and all of the front range): good in, very bad getting out
Billings: good in, bad getting out
Seattle: decent getting in, bad getting out
El Paso: decent in and out but it's been awhile
Keep in mind on these above I'm usually trying to get headed east.
Ones I don't know anything about:
Southern CA (never run it)?
Northern CA (never run it)?
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When thinking about lanes a few things to consider.
What is the location?
Is it a high consumer area. In that a lot of goods go in to supply the local population, but very little comes out. Or what does come out has a very narrow range of products.
Is it a high production area, where a lot of raw materials go in and finished goods come out. This does not always translate to a good market. This location could be dependent on a small employment and population base.
Then you have places where the local economy is fairly balanced good consumer demand as well as production.
Shifts do take place. Over time a location can go from one type to any other. Las Vegas comes to mind. At one time it was a very high consumer only, very little out. Now it still in a primary consumer location, with production becoming more diversified and more freight out.
Portland is like Seattle or Denver except Denver has a ton of freight.
Tucson ok in ok out , close to Nogales . Border loads .
Boise is ok to get into , a little deadhead sometimes to get out .
Reno good in , no so much going out
Flagstaff good in , Might get you a heavy load of puppy chow out .
Dont forget Saltlake, ogden, provo - sporting goods , onions , costco and Wally world loads.
Grantsville heavy salt loads
Albuquerque good in not so great out
Produce loads in Farmington-Seasonl
First, I have no current knowledge of rates or anything out west. But what a friend of mine was doing a couple years ago was he’d get a load into Portland or Seattle and then sometimes he would end up taking a load out to say SLC, Eastern WA/North ID/Western MT area, or Eastern ID and then reloading another one to get back farther east. Most times that made him more money because a lot of guys were wanting the long ones coming off the coast.
Just something to think about when you’re looking to put a run together.
I can speak on the freight going out of Cali and Portland. The main areas in Cali are Sacramento / Bay area for the central valley. LA/ Ontario area for the south valley. Basically I-80 and I-10. Not really worth going out of those areas to get freight. There is a lot of freight from those areas up and down the I-5 corridor (my running area with curtain van) so getting a load to or from Seattle or Portland or LA/Sac/Bay is pretty easy. So you can come into any of those areas and get a load north or south and head east from there.
East to Seattle or Portland then south to Sacramento/Bay area/ LA then back east or the other way of course. I haul a lot of beer, wine, or dry foods from the bay area but do flatbed south. I run from Seattle to the Bay area and back on the 5 primarily with the occasional load to LA.Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
When running the NW don't forget high fuel prices, Oregon permits and about $0.22 per mile charge. Seattle Tacoma pretty much no truck parking. I did some power only work for ArcBest out of Sparks, NV and they have tons of freight to the Northwest and back. Also watch the I-5 corridor in Washington around Kelso. The Port of Entry has been closed due to remodel and all those guys are out on the road now.
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