As I run around the country pulling a Chemical tanker, I noticed an increasing number of these bottom dump grain hoppers on the road. Not the pneumatic bulk kind but the open top covered with tarps and two hopper underneath kind.
I have asked several drivers of these about them and they say that a lot of grain that used to be shipped by rail is now being shipped in these things and they are covered up with work, but they were company drivers so did not know about O/O money.
Anyone know about these things???????????
Chemical tanker is going well for me, finally making consistentaly acceptable money, just always trying to stay informed.
The pay isn't that good, but the turnaround is quick. Back when I was pulling grain hoppers, the rates were around $15 a ton for 200-300 mile trips (this was back around 2000 - 2001). That comes out to about $1.30 a mile for a 26 ton load (which was pretty easy to get). The plus side was that we could run 2 trips per day (if we were lucky).
It's very dirty work though, because a lot of what those grain wagons are hauling isn't grain at all - it's feed and fertilizer. Some feeds unload better than others, but I've had loads that have taken upwards of 10 hours to get off the trailer. Feed and fertilizer pays a lot better than grain. The work is pretty steady, though - if you have the right connections. The cows always have to eat, so there is work year round.
It's very much regional work, although there are a few outfits that go beyond that. If I were to get into grain hauling again, it wouldn't be through leasing onto a company - they generally pay crappy rates. But, again, you have to get a customer base lined up, which can be difficult to do. A lot of the stuff gets brokered through a few large firms, and they frown upon carriers eliminating them as middlemen.
I pull a hopper bottom now and talking with the guy that owns the truck it sounds like the rates have come up pretty good. the secret is to stay out of Ia., Wisc., and that area as every farmer has a truck running down the road.