Ida creates ‘feast or famine situation’ for truckers

The aftermath of Hurricane Ida has been a boon for some companies in the trucking sector and a hindrance for others, says Renee Amar, executive director of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association. 

“It’s become a ‘feast or famine’ situation,” she says. 

Truckers that have fuel tankers or a refrigerated unit to store ice or food could be in constant demand for at least the next month. But other companies have been less busy as power outages restrict commerce in some parts of the state. 

The storm also has displaced workers for a sector that already was short on drivers, Amar says. Some companies that need propane have had trouble finding it. Many people who had been driving fuel tankers got out of that business due to lack of demand during the height of the pandemic restrictions, eroding that part of the workforce that now is in high demand, she adds. 

Some companies have been able to find diesel for their trucks but have faced concerns about their workers being able to fuel up their personal vehicles to get to work. According to GasBuddy app user data, almost 55% of Baton Rouge stations were out of gasoline and 41% were out of diesel Tuesday morning, compared to about 65% and 45% respectively on Friday afternoon.