Pulling Containers, running the ports in Florida?

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by KullenTrucking, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. KullenTrucking

    KullenTrucking Light Load Member

    Apr 26, 2019
    South Florida

    I’m a current company driver for a food service company, been at it for about a year. I’m very interested in becoming an O/O specifically hauling containers. I live in south east Florida.

    My questions are:

    How much can you gross weekly?
    How promising is the future over the next 5-10 years?

    I need to hear the HONEST truth (the good, the bad) from drivers actually doing it.

    Any experienced O/O’s that are hauling containers in my area with any info is highly appreciated

    Thank you in advance
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  3. 77fib77

    77fib77 Road Train Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    St Louis
    We hauled rail containers it didn't pay well. Most people say ports don't pay well Todo locally. You get a step deck and go out to Tennessee and then come back it might be better.
  4. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

    Mar 5, 2016
    White County, Arkansas
    It does not pay very well either. My short experiement with containers out of baltimore with Port East to Norfolk, usually results in about a 55 dollar pay from Balto to Norfolk 2am to 7 am to catch the ship and then end up sitting until approx 6 or so that night and come back with a 20 dollar chassis or empty to baltimore late at night 10PM and after. In a day cab. The earnings net each week supported the commute in gasoline and was zero income after expenses.

    I had excessive incidents where being awake too long led to almost killing construction crewmen at times. And use of legal pills for caffeine pills etc in extreme amounts. In short the entire experiment for that kind of employment was not suitable at all. I quit within a couple of months. There was just too much waiting involved. Either in the yard, or at the port or at the customer or another port. Wait wait wait. Maybe two of those loads involved a proper delivery say to Ocean City of hotel furniture where that wait time getting empty could be used as a form of recreation and down time that is beneficial.

    Rail yards are even worse. You have to be on time. In my time they were in early development and the railroads treated the container and trailer freight as the hottest ones on their system. The minute you are late for any reason, you do not get another load there until you quit.

    I hate to be difficult, but I don't see any reason that the situation has been improved. Los Angeles has started action this past week to investigate three ports and trucking companies for exploitation of drivers and those who own trucks either through lease or outright. I don't have reason to believe otherwise in other ports.

    Two more problems with container work. You do intensive pretripping because the previous driver either in Europe or somewhere in the Port failed to have the box or chassis fixed to DOT requirements. Flats, scrapped wires, no fuel for reefer etc. over and over again you lose time getting the thing repaired before inspection to gate.

    The other problem is weight. I had a standing 100K license for Md and VA. we routinely exceeded that grotesquly. Ball Bearings out of Richmond in a solid 65000 pounds inside a 20 foot on a triaxle comes to a weight that way above 100K. In regular 18 wheelers in that time you could load 48000 into the box and be legal at 80000. Scales have broken under me in the past when the DOT wanted to see where I am at in weight. Tickets in the thousands of dollars.

    Even when the trailer gets fixed sometimes it's such a jerry rig to the point it will fail a hour later killing your trailer lights for example. you learn to wrap the pigtail or something hasty so when you are pulled over the police sees you are making a effort and not OOS you.

    All in all, there are some upsides to container work. But there is no money, too much time lost and other losses along the way. Thankfully nothing was lost when you take it to a US Customs to have them cut the red ball so you can deliver it stateside and so on. We had a few loads rejected outright when the customer sees it and says no good. What do you do? Close it up, seal it back on the ship to Ceylon or wherever it comes from. I would not be wanting to see the bill for that one.
    TallJoe and ChevyCam Thank this.
  5. Milr72

    Milr72 Medium Load Member

    Dec 16, 2011
    S W Missouri
    X1Heavy's ancient news report!
    Studebaker Hawk and homeskillet Thank this.
  6. REO6205

    REO6205 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

    Feb 15, 2014
    I think the OP is looking for current conditions.

    The ins and outs of container hauling in a previous century probably won't help him much. ;)
  7. Largecar359

    Largecar359 Road Train Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    New Jersey
    It will be very difficult to talk to anyone hauling containers as a O/O in south Florida. Two big reasons for that.
    1) majority of Florida container haulers do not speak the language.
    2) Florida container hauling pays so low companies go belly up or move on within 3 months.
  8. starmac

    starmac Road Train Member

    Apr 11, 2019
    Fairbanks Ak
    My experience at the times I have had to deal with pulling out of any major ports has been dismal at best.
    As far as strictly running container freight, just the lines getting in is enough for me not to even think about, the time it takes to get in and out, would mean it has to be a good paying load, I just do not see it.
  9. Buckeye 60

    Buckeye 60 Road Train Member

    Apr 19, 2018
    kinda easy to see look at all those fine rigs pulling those cans although thats not always the best way to judge jobs ..... but running the containers from the ports is bad worse than the rails. but southeast Florida would be the worst. .... may work out to be lowest paying truck driving job in the country
  10. 7seriestv

    7seriestv Light Load Member

    Jan 28, 2016
    Go checkout those guys at BIG E, whatever they are doing that's what you need to do because they have those Pete's and freightliner classics decked out, and they dont leave the state
    ChevyCam Thanks this.
  11. Western flyer

    Western flyer Road Train Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    You live in the absolutely worst place for any type of truck driving.
    Lowest pay, zero freight.

    I would suggest either a career
    Change or a location change.

    Go work for someone who
    Does the ports first.
    You’ll see for yourself the daily
    Nightmare it is.
    GoldenLad Thanks this.
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