When a disaster hits, we all want to do our part to help. One way that truckers can give back is to help deliver the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) loads heading to the natural disaster. When this happens, there are usually thousands of loads consisting of supplies and they usually have higher than average rates. So, should everyone rush to take FEMA loads due to the higher rates? There are some things you need to consider first before committing to a FEMA load.

Chaos Upon Arrival

  • Expect chaos. There will be hundreds of trucks waiting for further instructions just like you. It will be mass confusion. Be prepared to sit for days while you wait for instructions.
  • Count on no cell service and no available supplies like food or fuel during the time you are waiting.

Keep a Well-Organized Paper Trail

  • Make sure that daily retention is included in your confirmation sheets. FEMA will pay detention, but it must be on your confirmation sheet. With all the waiting you are doing, you are going to want to make sure you are getting paid for that time.
  • Make sure you get everything in writing. They are promising different things to thousands of carriers and will not remember your agreement, so get everything in writing. Do not expect to get paid for anything that is not in writing.
  • Keep all your paperwork neat and organized. If paperwork is wrong or missing something, you go to the end of the stack to process for payment.

Be Prepared to Wait for Payment

  • Always check the credit worthiness of your customer. Just because a broker or shipper can get you FEMA loads does not always mean they will pay or have been approved by FEMA to work with FEMA. Anyone who offers Logistics must be granted access to the “Logistics Gateway”.
  • Expect the payment to be terribly slow, it could reach outward of 90 days. Factoring companies that are familiar with the FEMA process are recommended to use due to the amount of time it takes to get paid from a FEMA load as they can get you your money right away and wait for the payment. Your factoring company can help protect you from bad brokers with credit checks and their history with brokers and pay terms.  Contact CarrierNet Financial for information on how we handle FEMA loads.

Be Safe

  • Most importantly, be safe. Roads may be washed out so do not travel down damaged roads.
  • Bring what you need to change a tire, there may not be shops or service stations to help you.

Tips From Experienced FEMA Drivers:

  • Bring your own food from MREs to canned or dried foods there will be no stores or restaurants
  • Bring at least two cases of water
  • Bring a CB radio for communication due to cell phones not working
  • Bring plastic bags, you may be using them for emergency toilets and garbage
  • Fill your tanks about 200 miles before getting there as there may be no fuel stations available
  • Bring something to pass time that does not require internet, again, there will not be cell phone service or internet
  • Here is a helpful link to FEMA’s “Provide Transport Services” https://www.fema.gov/business-industry/doing-business/transportation

About the Author: Becki Lynch

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