SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — On Feb. 8-9, members of the bulk loads freight industry gathered at the Bass Pro Shops White River Conference Center to share ideas, discuss issues and learn new strategies unique to the segment.
Nearly 200 people — including drivers, owner operators, business owners, dispatchers, service providers and others — attended the exclusive inaugural event, hosted by Springfield, Missouri-based BulkLoads.
Jared Flinn, operating partner at BulkLoads, told The Trucker he was pleased with the turnout and response from attendees and sponsors.
“To my knowledge, (this conference) was the first one ever for just bulk freight,” he said, adding that he’s attended trade shows and conventions for trucking and for agriculture, but none that tied the two together specifically for the bulk loads industry.
On Feb. 8, attendees enjoyed a chance to network and enjoy cocktails and appetizers before and after the introductory session.
“This is where carriers, brokers and shippers in the bulk industry all got to network,” said Tyler Allison, marketing director for BulkLoads. “Most of these guys have done business with each other online or via email for years. During this conference, they were able to meet face-to-face.”
The conference featured a variety of presentations covering topics such as smart freight funding, electronic logging devices (ELDs), team building and more. The two panel discussions, one centering around issues faced by the bulk loads segment and the other focusing on technology in the industry, were well-received, according to Flinn.
“We actually talked about issues that need to be talked about,” Flinn said. “I think the highlight of the conference was our panel discussions. We had so much engagement from our audience.”
A few of the topics covered include driver recruiting, double brokering, safety and compliance, insurance premiums and fuel hedging.
“They were talking about their real struggles. ‘How do we solve this? How do we solve detention? How do we do this?’” Flinn said. “I heard so many people say afterwards, ‘I’m so glad they got up there. They said what I’ve been feeling all along – the struggles and pains. I’m glad people are bringing a voice to this.’”
In addition, attendees heard from two keynote speakers, trucking industry expert Tim Brady and sales trainer and coach Greg Martinelli.
BulkLoads plans to host its second annual conference early next year.
In addition to operating a load board exclusively for the bulk loads industry, Bulkloads provides a network for bulk commodities and transportation, connecting and interacting through community-drive load boards, forum discussions, instant messaging and member directories.
Event sponsors included Konexial, Bulk Insurance Group, Smart Freight Funding, Bulk TMS, Cover 3 Consulting, Ingredient Logistics Services Inc., Spirit Factory Promo Products and GrainWorx.
Linda Garner-Bunch has been in publishing for more than 30 years. You name it, Linda has written about it. She has served as an editor for a group of national do-it-yourself publications and has coordinated the real estate section of Arkansas’ only statewide newspaper, in addition to working on a variety of niche publications ranging from bridal magazines to high-school sports previews and everything in between. She is also an experienced photographer and copy editor who enjoys telling the stories of the “Knights of the Highway,” as she calls our nation’s truck drivers.