Posted: Wednesday, October 31st 2012 at 10:23am
Area trucking company copes with Sandy-effect
DAHLONEGA – Northeast Georgia escaped the direct onslaught of super-storm Sandy earlier this week, but the ripple effect is being felt by several local businesses.
Jeff Underwood owns Underwood Trucking in Dahlonega, and according to his website he serves all 48 lower states…usually.
Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy has eliminated a significant number of those states from Underwood’s route map as interstate traffic in the path of Sandy is at a standstill.
Snow, flooding, and downed trees and power lines have halted over-road delivery across a broad swath of the mid-Atlantic and northeast.
"We sent several trucks up the east coast…and some of them have had to sit,” Underwood said. “And they’re using them for cold storage because power is out in a lot of the places where we deliver."
"The drivers, they’re doing real good about it," Underwood added. "It affects our back loads but we have had to adjust. It’s aggravating at times."
Two years ago Underwood hauled a massive Christmas tree cross-country from the Pacific Northwest to the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
"A lot of the truckers (today) have backgrounds and they check pretty good into them, a whole lot more than they used to," Underwood said, describing the status of his industry and the reported shortage of qualified drivers.
"You got to have a clean bill of health and a good record before they’ll stick you behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound truck going down the highway."
And despite the increased enrollment at "truck driving academies", Underwood explains that, “that’s where my insurance dictates…you can’t hire someone without two years of over-the-road experience."
But, Underwood says, for those who fit the requirements it can be a rewarding career.
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