Getting to know Chris Kinsel
Hi. I’ve lived my whole life in California. I grew up in Southern California about 10 miles north of the border. I migrated to Northern California in 1970 to go to college and have been up here ever since. I started after a couple of years doing other things. I started in the freight transportation business in 1978. And since then, I’ve been in LTL and truckload, trucking, air freight, warehousing, rail, intermodal. I just celebrated 10 years after being out of the business for a while, 10 years with us one. Under my current responsibilities, I’m not what I consider in the line management group, I report to a couple of VPs and the president of the company. And now my main responsibilities are to work with a small group of our agents out here in the West, that I managed from a small home office here in Concord, California. I’m also looking at other markets that are potential for our company to expand into. And now hemp is one of the primary things that we’re looking at and doing some networking with. I’ve been really blessed to work with a company that is full of folks who are all younger than me. They’re all faster, they’re more tech savvy. And so they keep me in a position where I’ve got to run real hard to keep up. I think I told you before him when I went to work for Mike and his previous partner, I told him I want this to be the last full time job I ever had. And it’s turned out to be that way. So I intend to hang around and do this as long as they’ll have me. So I guess that’s kind of enough about me. That’s quick, but at least where I’m from and structure wise us one Logistics is headquartered in Ponte Vedra, Florida. They’re a subsidiary of US one industries headquartered in Valparaiso, Indiana. And I work from a home office, out here in the Western Concord, California, which is about 20 miles east of Oakland.
What are the challenges in hemp transportation?
Mandi Lynn Kerr asked a question and said, “So talk to me a little bit about, ” over and over again, we hear about the supply chain and the supply chain management and transportation costs and how much it’s impacted not just our industry, but industries in general. Can you talk a little bit about how, how does it work for you as a broker of freight and transportation? And what are you seeing as real challenges that you guys have been able to overcome as a service to your clients and your customers?
Chris Kinsel said, Well, first of all, use one logistics company I’m representing when I’m on the floor of the expo. We are a provider of logistics services primarily in the areas of trucking, and freight brokerage. On the truck side. All of our Well, most of our truck traffic has either prior subsequent movement by railroad or steamship. So in other words, a commercial zone dredge operation, we do have some over the road operations on our own, in terms of where we sit and providing potential service to the hemp industry, Mandi, that’s going to be from the freight brokerage side or freight brokerage authorities throughout North America. And there are a lot of challenges. But , I’ve been doing brokerage since about 1981. And the opportunities, I think, have really never been better in the brokerage. And I think a lot of what’s going on now is going to push people in our direction. I don’t think it’s quite as bad as people seem to say it is now. And in fact, when you and I talked earlier, I mentioned that. I was on the floor at the NoCo Expo back in March. And I was just going around shaking as many hands as I could. And I shook hands with the guy. I think he’s in the wood business, hemp wood business. Yeah. And he said, man, you gotta hear you guys got a lot of problems. Somebody told me there’s an 80,000 driver shortage in the trucking industry. And if I hadn’t heard that question, I would have really had no intention of putting it on my list of topics. And I’ll kind of get to that as we go through this because generally, the effects of that statement and that belief out there are good for us on the brokerage side. And I’ll try to explain that as we go through this. For our company, we provide those services through a nationwide network of agencies and so we don’t own terminals, we don’t own trucks. We recruit and retain independently owned and operated agencies. Now. I know you met my co worker at the hemp show Olivia wolf Olivia is one of our b young agents. So we’ve had a lot of fun teaming up on this. And just as an example, our agents will generate anywhere from a million dollars gross revenue in a year up to upwards of 4550. Providing a variety of brokerage and trucking services. They come to us because we provide them with administrative support that would generally cost either cost or to get on their own. Or it would be such a distraction for somebody running a small business that they wouldn’t have time to do what they’re good at. Most of our agents are really effective entrepreneurs. We provide them with the legal operating authority, we provide them with insurance, we provide them with IT support with safety programs, and all that stuff is designed to keep them legal, safe and solvent. And it leaves them really with one thing to do. And that’s to go out and develop and manage business relationships, and run the day to day operation. So we’re approaching the hemp world from the standpoint of freight brokerage. And, , as examples, a couple of the markets we’re in now, we do move a lot of freight and brokerage and beverage and grocery trade, we’ve got packaged goods, we do business with the US government. So we move a variety of types of freight. I have to say up until recently, hemp wasn’t one of them, but here we are. So yeah, and that’s been kind of an interesting, last couple of years trying to crack that business. My timing wasn’t all that great with COVID.
Mandi Lynn Kerr said, No, I can’t imagine. Okay, so when we look at what’s moving in the hemp industry, , can you talk a little bit about what it is? And , there’s a lot of discussion now about materials only moving a certain distance due to cost of transportation and remaining competitive? Can you talk a little bit about what you’re seeing, and then maybe what we anticipate for freight needs in?
Chris Kinsel replied and he said, I had a figure in mind, I don’t know if I saw it on your website or somewhere else, the projection for how big the hemp industry is going to grow. And I want to say $20 billion by 2030, or something like that, is that the wrong number is the number.
Mandi Lynn Kerr commented and said, actually don’t know I look at acreage when we look at the scale of acreage, and tons there.
Chris Kinsel said, “The reason I asked that, what transportation looks like in the hemp industry now, is not gonna look anything like this in three years, or five years, or 10 years, if the projections are true. I talk to an awful lot of people on that floor in Colorado, and one of the things they’re concerned with is the distance between the field where the raw material is, and to the processing plant, and from the processing facility to their customer who’s either going to produce something out of it, or then sell it to somebody else who’s going to sell it to their end user. And , that’s not common throughout transportation, but it’s, it’s, it’s new to a lot of people in the hemp world. So the only thing I can say is we’re concerned about the distances because , that’s, that’s going to drive who we’re looking for, to handle the freight. And I’ll, after we talked about, , the networking foray into hemp here, and we talked specifically about some of what a broker does. I can kind of lay that out for you. But I’ve had a few people tell me that their goal down the road for this industry is that nothing should have to be shipped longer than about 500 to 600 miles. So that’s, , roughly, if I pick it up this morning, I can probably get it 500 Miles tonight, or I’ll get it there the next morning, which is great in terms of your traceability and all that because I’m going overnight. And if you’re moving in with us now, Olivia is probably going to be on the phone with a driver more times than the driver wants to hear. But one thing she’ll know is when that customer calls her, whether it’s our shipper or the constant is waiting on her. She’s not going to have to say I’m gonna get back to you. So that’s kind of how we’re putting together the marketing effort. As it doesn’t make a difference to us whether it moves 500 miles or 2000 miles, but as this industry evolves, I think there will be a lot of shorter hauls. The only thing that would make me change that comment is that nobody knows. Everybody knows about the potential of the plant. Nobody knows which market is going to take off first. Are we suddenly going to see hardwood floors and every luxury home in the US? I watched you again. I’m not here. I love to talk to you, but I can’t hear you. Do , what’s going to take off is, am I going to be sitting here in Northern California and 10 years looking at a neighborhood that’s got half a dozen homes in it. That changes the flow, because as , in your association, , it’s legal federally, some states are making it easy for the hemp business to grow in some states, mine included, sometimes aren’t as friendly as they’d like to see and be. So , length of haul is an issue. But it’s not insurmountable. And if I was somebody that was in the hemp business, I would grow my business help most effectively, I can grow it to, to build profit and make it into a profitable business. And I wouldn’t really long term, I wouldn’t worry about how long or how far the freight has to move. Because if you’re doing everything else, , that’ll take care of itself. And you really won’t worry about whether we’re taking it 1000 miles for you, or, or 500 miles for you. And certainly within reason the trucks will be there. Yeah, so I mean, that’s, , the, and interrupt anytime you want, I was going to talk a little bit about our initial visit into the, into the hemp world.
In-house hemp transportation or outsourced hemp transportation?
Mandi Lynn Kerr said, I have a question for you real quick, you kind of touched on this a little bit. But I’d like to dive in a little more. What are some of the challenges as a business owner in the hemp industry that I will or, or that you see people running into, by trying to manage the freight in house compared to outsourcing some of that? What are some?
Chris Kinsel replied and said, Yeah, I was actually hoping you would ask something like that. , I’m certainly not gonna sit here and tell a farmer or a scientist, or an entrepreneur, and they have grown up doing what I think they ought to do. That said, even though it sounds a bit self-serving, , one of the things we tried to do, and I had it on my nose to talk about what I don’t, I gave up selling a long time ago, I don’t sell people anymore. If I can, if I can walk that floor and get somebody to have an honest 15 or 20 minute conversation with me, we’ll figure out if there’s a next step to take. And we’ll figure out when and how we ought to take it. And if there isn’t a legitimate next step, we’ll shake hands. And we both met a new networking contact. So that said, if I’m in the hemp business, and the freight is distracting me, because I’m a professional farmer, or because I’m a processor, I think what you have to do is spend time trying to meet enough people so you can figure out who you can trust. You do that with your own employees on the farm or in the plant, try to try to build that freight network beyond transactional business, so that, , whether it’s one load at a time, one month at a time, or one year at a time, or whatever it is, so that you’re building a relationship rather than, , like a store where you go in and buy a can of soda every day, on your way home from work. You’ve actually moved beyond transactional to. And we’ve had it a couple of times, , where you are. I mean, if you’re a shipper and you’re on my big accounts, I can guarantee you, the longer we do business, the more chances are, there’s going to be that one load somewhere that just goes haywire. And, , my goal in life is not to have Mandi Lynn Kerr pick up the phone and say, Chris, you got a real hell of a problem here, get it fixed. ” I’d like to hear Mandi call up and say, Chris, we have a problem, how are we going to work together? And that’s not easy to do. But that means we’ve reached a level of trust. And , we walked into this thing in the middle of COVID, I was invisible for two years, because I couldn’t go anywhere. That was a real learning experience. I didn’t get out to actually see somebody in person until late 2020. So here we are. And, again, I’m very fortunate to work for people who have allowed me the opportunity to go out and, and explore something that I believed in. I’ve been looking at this industry since about 2018 2019. I won’t say I was smart, I would just say fortunate for me, I stayed out of the initial CBD gold rush. And , God bless some of those people, but I didn’t know enough to know whether the CBD market was for us. But I knew I didn’t know enough to go to my upstream management and say I really feel strongly about this. But I didn’t know enough to have somebody say, Chris, take some of your time that we’re paying you for. And go out and take a look, , and so it took me a while.
What is it about hemp that Chris likes?
Mandi Lynn Kerr asked a question and said, What is it about Chris for you? So, I mean, because you mentioned a number of things like the increased volume, , the number of products that are going to come on market and I look at this as a business opportunity, what for you really well as your AHA moment.
Chris Kinsel replied So my adult kids would probably say, You gotta be kidding me. But I, , the more I work on I had a farmer, straighten me out on this. So I’m gonna make the statement that the more I learned about it, the more I really began to feel that this was a safe world kind of plant. And it was earth shaking for me. I do believe in protecting our environment, but I would never have called myself a zealot. But , the more I learned about what you could do, , and I’ve heard the legends, , I’m kind of a history buff. I know about the Betsy Ross flag I suppose we made from him. And I don’t know if that’s true, fine. If it’s a legend, fine. I do know this. The US government came to 1000s of farmers in this country during World War Two, and gave them the product and asked them to farm him, because they did not have a way to put uniforms and tents around soldiers that they had sent over to fight in World War Two, and the farming community came through like gangbusters. And the minute the war was over, the government stepped in and said, Okay, this is illegal. Now give it all back. So , I know there’s a lot of history there. But to me, it was like, , if we could get in and have the opportunity to be part of something this is really going to be a big deal. Now, I sat down with a farmer at Norco. We had a meeting, we’re moving freight for this particular company now. And she said, Chris , we’ve had this conversation. God bless you. It’s a real saving plant, she said, But I’m gonna tell you something, if you can’t tell a farmer, how much he or she can sell a bushel for, or how much yield they can get from their acreage. It’s not likely to happen anytime soon. And so I agree with you, it is a business proposition. But for me, Mandi, it goes back to, , my approach to selling in the first place, I just don’t sell I didn’t, we’ve got your service.
Mandi Lynn Kerr commented and said, you’re very good at listening to what people need and finding a solution versus selling hardware.
Chris Kinsel replied and said, It’s not, it’s not easy for me, you have to learn that and practice it because I’m gonna tell you the mic, my, my wife and kids and tell you that I enjoy the sound of my voice. So you have to, you have to learn. I can’t be learning anything, if I’m doing it all the time. If I’m on the floor, shaking hands with him, people I’ve never met. I don’t learn a thing while I’m talking. , when they tell me about their bushels and their acreage, and we’re shipping to a customer that doesn’t have a loading dock, doesn’t have a pallet jack, doesn’t have a forklift. And, but darn it, Chris, I gotta get the freight there. Can you do anything? , and I look at Olivia and she says, Well, sure , I’ll get it there. And she sets up the rate and moves the freight. , that’s rewarding for us. And that’s really the one that gets you the call back in a year from now that’s gonna be a relationship we’re in. And that’s kind of where it’s at for me. So anyway, not to ramble as I always do but I see the transportation as a challenge. Because nobody that I’ve talked to has anybody’s got a heck of a lot of experience in transportation. There are people out there we’re not the only company but we’re a good one and there are people out there that you can learn to trust.
Will hemp open up the shipping for other products?
Mandi Lynn Kerr asked and said, So I want to talk about some of the challenges within the hemp industry for shipping hemp , hemp specific and then also do you think hemp opens up new opportunities to ship products that previously weren’t able to be shipped like bricks, for example, , because of the durability or the weight , does the weight of the hemp change the shipping , that may previously have cost more or less? I’m kind of curious about trying to understand the nuances compared to other items or materials.
Chris Kinsel said, Your experience is pretty limited now. I think Olivia is on a load board now. We’ve got seed. We’ve got some insulation. And we’ve got some, some heard that’s gonna go into hemp locks, hemp brick. Yeah. All of that is pretty white. So there’s not a weight challenge there. There’s a handling challenge. Because if you’re shipping palletized super sacks to a hurd and they weigh 500 or 800 or 1000 pounds, and you’re going to a brand new customer like we did last week. And , we go out to try to get a truck with a lift gate on it, but that’s not really that’s not going to solve the issue and the guy we’re sending it to is accepting it as a resident at a residence He has no equipment and, , pick a lot of big strong people to lift up that full trailer bags off. That is now work.
Mandi Lynn Kerr said, I imagine like the nuance of being a startup industry compared to our startup businesses that are a lot of r&d compared to those that once we scale to, once you’re delivering herd by large scale to organizations that then distribute it from their hub, for example.
Chris Kinsel said, Frankly, the raw hurd in a in a in a super sack, , to my mind is the way to shipping. And if , I’m going to a customer who has maybe a brand new customer and doesn’t have a way to receive that and says, Well, jeez, can you do it and 40 pound bags or 50 pound bags. So I can bring in a couple of unloaders. That’s great. But now you got a shipper who’s probably a farmer, and you got somebody who’s going to receive it, who’s brand new. And we’re excited by delivering that very first load to somebody who’s got some customers that want to buy his hemp plots, we just have to kind of catch our breath and work together and figure out a way to, to help them get it done. But , as we, , as it ramps up, , we’re moving a few shipments, then pretty soon, it’ll be a few weeks, and pretty soon, it’s gonna be a few a day. And fortunately, we’re kind of at the front end of this to where we can learn these things. And we’ve partnered up with, with really good people so far, and, , seeds, another heavy one, but that can be handled and that’s gone. If your question is about the bricks. You talked about hempcrete.
Mandi Lynn Kerr commented and said, or just block in general. , that previously it was my understanding, for example, shipping on train as a, that’s what was brought up specifically is, shipping block on train previously wasn’t an issue wasn’t something we could do. We’re now just due to the stability of it, or the reinforced fibers may make it something that can ship differently.
Chris Kinsel said, ” I think there’ll be a play for hemp. At some point in the rail, intermodal business container on flat car trailer on flat car, absolutely. I don’t know that my vision is good enough to see full 100,000 pound railcars of product, although, if I don’t hear you, again, it’s your magic ball out. When you do. If the industry gets as big as it’s supposed to get, then you’re going to have some facilities, they’re going to have possibly have rail spurs, and you’ll put 100,000 pounds of something in a rail current taken
Mandi Lynn Kerr commented and said, actually something that comes up quite a bit when we look at building scalable facilities and larger facilities
Chris Kinsel said, I looked at it and I said Why? , why don’t I build a retirement home out of hempcrete and have insulation? And be a pioneer instead of living under fiberglass and on top of concrete? , if it’s gonna happen. And I think hempcrete , somebody offered us a little hempcrete now, I think we’d probably look for a flatbed to put it on and strap it down and tarp it, depending on where it was going from or where it was going to. I’ve got quite a bit of years behind me in the rail, intermodal industry, , I can see it play there. But remember, you’ve got a truck on each end to get it to and from the railroad yard. And so I see a play. They’re not my business now. But I saw a play.
Mandi Lynn Kerr said, I think it’s a way out. ? That’s what we have a long way to go, even just like, I don’t want to call it Elementary, but these nuances of discovering the load and off take opportunities, or were you doing that at, , at a residence where they’re building homes compared to a rail are very different conversations and very different scales. The reality of where the industry is, is what you just explained. . And it’s not just maybe it is not . I shouldn’t say it’s just transportation. It’s in general, where the industry is, but in transportation, it’s even back to figuring out and delivering delivery methods and transportation and what a key role it plays in profitability.
Chris Kinsel replied and said, well, exactly and I think a lot of the a lot of people that we’ve we’ve met and network with on the , somebody who has farmed soybeans, corn, cotton, whatever, and now they’re dedicating some acres to get into this hemp business. They’re trying to figure it out, too. , like I said, I’ve been at this, for the most part since 1978. That doesn’t really qualify me to walk in and tell somebody how to do it. It does qualify me to walk in and ask questions. and learn. And believe me, I’ll know if I can provide help. And if I can’t , we have to be able to come in and demonstrate that we can provide support, not that we can, quote, a cheap rate and send you a freight bill. And there’s a big, big difference there. And so I used to, I had a sales training business for a few years. I don’t know if I told you that on the show. But I did sales training, and the guys that came in for training always had the same thing. I want you to teach me better techniques. I want to know how to overcome objections, I want to know how to enjoy cold calls. First of all, Nobody enjoys cold calls. I think there’s seven, if they tell you they do. And, I wouldn’t do it. If we start with other things like, what’s your behavior model? And what’s your attitude, and I got to where to make the point I used to. There’s a, you’ve heard of the writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, I’m sure. So he wrote an essay, it’s a very short essay, it’s called compensation Emerson’s essay on compensation and in sales, search circles is fairly well known. And I used to get to where I required everybody to read that before we started the training. And essentially, if you if you, if you dumb it down, and say, If you want to get something out of life, you first got to be willing to put something in, you got to get, , you want to get a friend, you got to be willing to be a friend. And for us to try to come into an industry that is fairly new, but is populated by people that have had a lot of experience in other industries. That’s the attitude that we have to have it we’re willing to put something in, we’re willing to join in, we’re willing to learn. And if we get to that point where we’re trusted, we will, we will definitely serve to the best of our ability. The great thing is, people are a pretty friendly group.
Collaboration and Working Together
Mandi Lynn Kerr said, I see more and more collaboration, ? This, they understand, or we’re really starting to understand this need for collaboration and working together. And I feel like what you just went over has been lost, , it really goes back to people doing business with people they know and like no one, actually being able to build that trust. And when it impacts our bottom line, as heavy as it does, , the time, the time on the road, the time spent trying to figure it out on our own, the loss that happens if a truck gets lost or something happens. And so I think it does, it goes back to having trusted partners that have been able to navigate and understand those relationships and build those relationships with each piece of that, that role that you play. Yeah, it just becomes more and more impactful. And I’ve been a big proponent that we do not need to be experts in everything that we do. And being able to outsource or work with organizations to take a piece off of our plate increases our bottom line, and it increases our opportunity to scale and grow and secure, secure that our products or our materials are getting to the locations on time and to our customers on time that then yeah, generates recurring business and so well.
Chris Kinsel said, And let’s face it ‘s very similar to how you’ve started and approach trying to grow your organization. Very similar, same thing, well, I can connect people and serve, then let’s talk about it. If I can’t , God bless you. And we’ll throw each other elite if we get a chance. And absolutely, , you haven’t. I know you’ve been at it for a little while. But this thing’s got people from all over the country. And it so my guess is you’re doing something.
Building Relationship With People That Support
Mandi Lynn Kerr said, Yes, absolutely. Well, and it’s again, it’s the community, ? I’m super passionate about connecting people. And, again, I understand the vertical integration and keeping things in house. But I really, for years have said this power of building relationships with people that support us and work together and people that are doing the same things as us, , because where I’ve learned the most is sitting next to somebody that’s trying to do something similar to me and say, what works and what doesn’t, , what did work for you and what didn’t and so this is again, where I go back to working with organizations like yours and your team. You guys have the network and you’ve seen it before, and you don’t know what you don’t know. So being able to lean in and build this relationship. So I have to give credit back, thank you very much for everything you’re doing.
Chris Kinsel said we’re and we’re learning it more and more I , it’s a I’ve been to so many conventions and expos since 1978 I can’t even count I and I’ve enjoyed some of them and some of them I felt like I drew the short straw , but I was all set my yesterday management had approved me going to the NoCo Yeah, northern Colorado there Expo in I guess it would have been 2020 . Yeah, I was signed up and I was excited as can be and then , what was it 10 days before they had to move it to a virtual event? Because of COVID And I thought, well, I, , I’ll spend a day I’ll get on it virtual and just see what, what gives here. First of all, I was amazed at how fast they converted that thing to virtual and made it work. A couple hours worth of presentations about man a man, I’m like, Well, I gotta, I really gotta go to school. But then I then I, I finally made the decision. And I got into the chat room. And I just introduced myself, and then I listened. I saw the list of people go up there. And I thought, well, if nothing else, they’re going to hear from me on LinkedIn. And I probably had Writer’s cramp agenda that day, I had dozens and dozens of names. Many of them within a week or so. , they’re doing the same thing. They’re stuck virtual. I’ve had conversations with a lot of those people over the last year or so. But that was, , it’s hard. It’s a little bit more challenging when you’re the new guy. And the next step, let’s try to get connected somehow. Let’s schedule a phone conversation. Let’s, but there were an awful lot of people that were really open to it. That, , we’re just as an industry probably wondering why isn’t freight and logistics guy coming to hear about hemp people. And so that’s really where it started was 2020 at NoCo. And then when things began to loosen up a little bit, there was a small builders show over in Longmont last year in August. And then there was the bigger one, a really nice one down in Austin. Last October, yeah. And I met a number of people who I’d been communicating with online or by phone. And that kind of led to some of those conversations to where, when you show up at the next one, you’ve got some meeting scheduled, you’ve got some people that work for you on the floor. I don’t even remember I joined your group. And just to show you how it works with this group of people. So Olivia and I got there the afternoon before and I said let’s go over to the Expo to see who’s setting up and simply get some raw materials. We’ll hit it run tomorrow morning. We bumped into you in the hallway, you were setting up your booth and we stopped you and introduced ourselves. But I had as we were walking up that long walkway. We saw a gentleman with two big duffel bags on wheels, dragging them and he had another big bag hanging over his shoulders, and he’s just trudging up the hallway. And we stopped and said, Gee, can we help you? We’re going that direction. He said, Sure. And he gave me one of the heavy bags. He gave Olivia one of the bags. And off we went. I said, Well, we’re going up to that big sign that says Expo. He says that to me too. I said okay, are you in business? Yes, I am. I said, Well, where are you from? He says Santa Cruz, California. And I stopped about an hour and a half from here. And it’s in Santa Cruz, California. I was at an art and Wine Festival 15 years ago, and I bought a hemp denim shirt from a company called DASH hemp in Santa Cruz. And he stopped and looked at, where I’m going, he stopped and looked up at me. He says, nice to meet you. I’m Richard Dash. And I thought man, oh man, a good , entirely wonderful guy. But everybody we’ve met, it’s been generous with their time and very willing. If we make them comfortable, we’ve had a number of them that said, Hey, I wish you well, but I’m not interested or I don’t have a need. And that’s good to a year from now two years from now, they may have a need, and we’re still going to be around so. But the in person part of this has been really, really rewarding so far.
How can we solve the truck driver shortage?
Mandi Lynn Kerr asked a question and said, I want to real quick go back to what we kind of talked about earlier about this trucking shortage or truck driver shortage, okay, and kind of what that looks like and solutions or how we can anticipate as businesses that will need transportation, , how does this affect us and what what do we look at and then I also want to, I have not had to deal with transportation, ? And so I’m not very clear about what to expect for calculating cost? No, just in general, what are some things that maybe business owners don’t take into consideration or need to be sure they’re considering when they’re planning to utilize companies.
Chris Kinsel said, I want to squeeze in there, I want to squeeze in just a little bit when I’m talking about trucking, kind of how a broker works and what we do. Yep. But a couple things about that, , when I, when I sent that to you the 80,000 shortage of 80,000 truck driver positions, that really happened because somebody I met on the floor, when I introduced myself to a simple company, and somebody said, Oh, you guys got real problems. I said, I, yeah, I didn’t know you knew my problems. But what are you talking about? He said, Well, you’re short of 80,000 drivers. And , truthfully, Mandy, that’s really in our wheelhouse. Okay, and I’m not a big numbers guy. I’ll share a few with it, and then tell you what I mean, the trucking industry, I think this is 2021. Don’t quote me on that it might be 2020 was about a $750 billion market. Okay, the brokerage part of that is 20%. Okay, so that the niche that we are operating in, when we provide service to the hemp industry comes into that 20% of that overall number. There are currently 900,000 legally operating trucking authorities in the US. Okay, so it’s a big market. But here’s the kicker: 91 and a half percent of that 900,000 operating authorities have five trucks or fewer. So what you have is, there’s an industry here that’s not dominated by anybody, nobody, no dominant player handles any more than six or 7% of this market. Okay, so it’s extremely fragmented, much slower than a lot of industries.
Mandi Lynn Kerr said, So more of a need for somebody with experience and understanding those relationships.
Chris Kinsel said, the asset carriers, , I meet shippers and say, I prefer not to do business with a broker. Chris, I’d prefer to do business with an asset based carrier, there’s an element of, they believe that gives them more control over the transaction. I’m fine with that. I think we can demonstrate that’s not true. But I don’t, I don’t find that statement. But I can tell you that the largest fleets out there, in those asset based carriers, own about anywhere from 14,000 to about 25,000. Trucks. Okay, now us one logistics, in our brokers division, we’ve got about 15,000 trucks signed up that haul freight under contract for us. Now, I’m not giving you that number to say we’re a big carrier, I’m saying we know what we had to do to get access to that 91 and a half percent that are out there with one to five trucks, there’s only there’s only two and a half percent of that number that have over 20 trucks. So there’s a lot of small carriers out there that don’t have a sales force, that might directly know one or two accounts and rely on brokers to fill their trucks when they’re empty.
Mandi Lynn Kerr commented and said, And that goes both ways, not just for us that are shipping. But for all of those companies out there that have that asset.
Chris Kinsel said, the 80,000 figure that you hear through the American Trucking associations and through other sources. That number relates to the large asset based carriers and it has to do with how many of their units that they’re paying for their financing are sitting at the terminal empty that they don’t have a driver in and , the way the market is gone the last couple years, I would say that we have a capacity shortage or a freight glut , more freight than there is trucks to put it in. But but the the freight market, the freight market is you and me and shippers and receivers, people who provide the service, okay, the freight market can’t have a shortage of drivers, large fleets can have that and it’s it’s it sounds like I’m cutting hairs, but I’m not it’s a big difference. So I won’t say that’s a myth. It’s out there. It’s just not the business we’re in in terms of the hemp people and their concerns. I don’t see where that plays unless they want to go out and find the largest truckers in the country and they’ve determined that that’s the best way to do their business. And if we happen to work very well and an instant says I think we have a way to go that works pretty good. The broker is kind of in the old world. I used to say we’re a travel agent for freight. I look for an empty truck. I find out where he wants to go. I look for a shipper that’s going in that general direction slide on the buyer of truck service. I’m a seller of truck service. And hopefully if I know what I’m doing, I put a nickel on top for me, and then and then we manage the transaction. And so there’s always going to be a shortage of drivers. In the asset base carrier business. A lot of the trucks that we broker are what we call owner operators. And they own their rig, or they own two or three or four rigs and have a couple of drivers of their own. They call themselves a small fleet. We’re vetting new trucks every single day, the last time I checked on that number of years, so back, it was about 12,000 words, about 15,000. Now, let me clarify that doesn’t mean every single day, they’re hauling a lot of freight for us. What it means is, they’ve been approved by the operating authority for insurance for safety records. So we know if we put your freight in it, they’ve been vetted and should be able to do the job and the ones that do a good job, what they get from us as a company that pays his bills properly. And a bunch of agents out there who will say wait a minute, I found a good trucker, I’m gonna keep that person as one of my contacts because they did a good job. And I want to get, I want to give them more freight. Olivia did that just last week, we had a really challenging load on the ham side, she found a trucker that moved things around, made the effort to pick up this load. The very next load she had the next day, she called the guy back and said, Tell you what, this one’s a little bit easier. Do you want that one too? And they said, Absolutely. And I guarantee you, she and that trucker have started a relationship and so. So that’s kind of how it works. It’s the same as when we’re trying to, I’m not telling him people, they shouldn’t worry about finding trucks, they should. But they just need to find somebody they can trust to find the truck for him. And it’s the place at the time. It’s a wonderful game of chess, and we enjoy playing it and chatting when business is up, it’s challenging. Now the business is starting to crater. Business levels are really dropping off now. Some of the people in the hemp world would be happy, because that means equipment is a little bit more available. It also means the rates are about a buck a mile cheaper than they were in May of last year. So rates are down a little bit. Competition kind of keeps his eye on us in the brokerage business, it doesn’t really allow us to make any bigger margins because there’s a lot of options out there and it’s very competitive. And so , I. That’s a big number, and we hear about a little time, it just isn’t our number.
Mandi Lynn Kerr asked a question and she said, Can you real quick, we only have about 15 minutes and I want to give a shout out to our next events and some of our sponsors. But a little bit about your team. , you mentioned Livia, you mentioned the benefits, how excited you were about coming on. What about this team really gives this industry stability? ?
Chris Kinsel said, Well, I’ll speak for our team, we maintain a pretty lean corporate staff down in Ponte Vedra, Florida. The whole concept is teamwork. It’s a. I don’t know if collegial is the word. But the atmosphere is such that if you’re busy and need help with what you’re doing, and I’ve got time, let me help. We maintain a safety department in the Corporate Safety Department down in Atlanta, Georgia. That is all over the latest safety trends in trucking, and they run out when we go to sign up a new carrier, we give them a link. It’s all done electronically. They monitor it. And once we have everything intact that we need, we have a lady down there that will then give us a code that says we’re authorized to load the truck. We don’t go there well, the truck before we’re clear. That’s that’s a no no. But I’m such a very responsive group. And as I mentioned, and I joke about it with them, but it’s really a true thing. We have a lot of young people who are in the prime of their career in this business. And so nobody waits around to do something, everybody, everybody’s ready to go and grow and work hard. And that’s a good thing. And on top of that. , from my standpoint, at this point, my career means you are just as important as I work for a corporate management group and an apparent company management group. That is all about entrepreneurialism. And it’s , I walked into my boss’s office in Florida a year back with an idea. And, , I said, I’ve got this, I’ve got this vision that this industry called him I think there’s something we need to be in and of course, I’m from California, he looks at me and says have been , what are you really talking about? And I said, No, no, I’m talking about industrial hemp here. But the point being that they’re very willing to look at new ideas and support them with time and finance. If they’re justified, the parent company will come to us with an idea. Make your point prove your point. So from my standpoint, I’m 3000 miles away from the corporate office, I feel like they’re all sitting here with me when I’m at my desk when I’m on the road. Somebody’s always checking in. So, I think it’s kind of why when I started, I told my boss that I had intended for this to be the only last full time job I ever had. And I wasn’t sure I’d make it to 10 years, but I have and , now scattered around them, they’re just got to push me out.
New Set of Entrepreneurship
Mandi Lynn Kerr said, you got this great new opportunity ahead of us that you really get to dive into with a whole new set of entrepreneurs. And really, the innovative piece is what gets so exciting that entrepreneurship, , to support the entrepreneurs
Chris Kinsel said, you and I are going to be talking in two or three years, maybe less about some products made with him. We can’t even imagine now, because somebody smarter, the rest is going to figure it out.
Who are the people we should be noticing in the hemp industry?
Mandi Lynn Kerr said, That’s awesome. Any highlights or anybody else that you’ve been working with? Chris, that’s really doing things . In our industry? Who should we be looking to? And who should we really be connecting with?
Chris Kinsel said, You’re talking about hemp companies or other people from other industries? Both? Yes. Well, I mean, I, , I should have asked permission to name some of the people we’re doing business with. I didn’t talk about I didn’t talk about I think we have an opportunity on the food side of hemp. Yeah. And we’ve gotten to know Carla Boyd quite a bit and I am really rooting for that company. She started to crack the California market and we do a lot of refrigerated both LTL and truckload frozen and chilled. She had us look at one thing: going up into Canada wasn’t a good competitive lane for us. But I think there’s a lot of opportunity in foodstuffs. Every time I talk to somebody in the food business, I ask him, “Why can I put hemp parts in my morning protein shake, but if I had a goat, I couldn’t go out and feed him to the goat because it’s not legal yet unless I change that. And it’s the craziest thing, but I think food is gonna blow up. So I think that company is doing it .
How can people get in touch with Chris?
Mandi Lynn Kerr asked and said, How do people get in touch with you, Chris? If somebody wants to get in touch or work with you guys, what’s the best way for them to reach out?
Chris Kinsel said, they can catch me on LinkedIn. Or they can catch me at email@example.com That’s really the two best ways. And those I’m on all the time. I’ll be glad to respond properly.