Cannon is President and CEO of Cannon Express, Springdale, AR, and happens to be launching a carrier-oriented Internet site of his own, Carriersco-op.com, which he says will allow carriers to access various discounts as well as find and place loads. The site, he said, will help smaller carriers.
Of course, many of the large Internet projects announced in recent weeks make the same claims.
"What would you expect them to say?'' asked Cannon.
According to Cannon, the independence of small, mid-size and even some large carriers is threatened by industry monoliths, particularly third party logistics providers.
"We've seen them go to customers, cut rates, take the business away from us, then offer us the same freight we were hauling for less money," said Cannon. "That is their whole intent."
According to Cannon, big logistics operations on the Internet will only enhance the process.
"I think their primary focus is to reduce costs for shippers and provide freight for trucks. To reduce costs for shippers, the number one thing is to cut rates on truckers," he said.
But lower rates could be disastrous for some carriers.
"There's not a lot of fluff in our industry to start with. Right now I would expect that carriers are probably operating at 100 or 100 plus operating ratios. Obviously fuel has probably increased that by 8 or 10 points. If they maintain a 98 they're doing extraordinarily well right now, but I would say the great bulk of them are probably in excess of 100."
Carriersco-op.com, said Cannon, will allow carriers to maintain their relationships with shippers and will most emphatically not establish a spot market for shipments.
"The carrier or shipper, whatever the case may be, will post a freight and the price," he said. "We're not creating an auction. We're diametrically opposed to that."
Neither will Carriersco-op.com get between buyer and seller where discounts are concerned. "We'll negotiate deals, let's say for tires, fuel and motels, but we won't participate in any part of the transaction. Discounts will have been prearranged and available to (members)," he explained.
"There are others out there offering that kind of thing, but we're interested in the preservation of our industry, the smaller and mid-size and larger carriers really," said Cannon.
Carriersco-op.com will earn revenue from an $1,000 annual membership fee and a $25-per-load assessment for loads actually placed over the site.
"We will profit from the venture, there's no doubt of that," said Cannon. "Certainly you have to do that to continue it. But it (Carriersco-op.com) gives them an alternative to being swallowed up."
Is the situation really that threatening?
"Without something like this," said Cannon, "that's what will happen."