Danger in the streets and at your office!

Along the I-94, in Ann Arbor, MI. on Oct 19 of this year, a truck loaded with structural steel beams is cut off by another vehicle and is forced to brake abruptly; as he comes to a clean safe stop, he is very lucky not to get killed as part of his cargo flies through the cab. Please see the pics below.


Upon investigation at the scene, all tie-down straps seem to be tight and properly placed. The driver narrowly escapes death and is happy to be alive.

The parts of steel were then picked up off highway and brought to the tow truck operation center. The tow truck operator, the insurance adjuster, and others at the scene were of the opinion that the cargo was not safely loaded onto flatbed trailer;

The shipper, a steel mill in Waterloo, IN. is responsible for the proper loading at their facility. The driver then straps down the entire load, unable to look inside the steel bundles.

The unaffected freight which never moved from the truck and was not touched in any way is returned to the shipper along with a 2nd truck with the damaged steel recovered from the roadway.

The shipper then proceeds to submit a freight claim (I know, crazy!!!) for the entire load, including the perfectly good freight not having been manipulated or touched. I guess they need the extra sales.

Is this a joke? A shipper who likely causes a problem, and then tries to throw the little guy under the bus to cover up the near fatal mistake(s). Hmmm, sounds like a David and Goliath story.

The Carrier’s insurance company will have none of it and tells shipper that it must prove cargo damages for it to be taken seriously. An freight claim invoice for the whole load doesn’t do it.

It gets worse!!! In the freight claim invoice, the shipper puts a freight charge equivalent to nearly 3 times what we WOULD have charged for the load but did not. We didn’t bill them any freight charges. In other words, they're padding the already bogus freight claim with a fraudulent freight charge amount they never incurred.

You be the judge, would you haul freight for these guys? The word scoundrel comes to mind.

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
They offered you NOTHING at all for the returned steel to offset the claim? Usually what happens is they will claim the entire load and then offer you something (negotiated) for the steel that you brought back. The steel is yours once it leaves the mill on your truck. So if something happens to the steel, and it doesn't arrive at the receiver then they will simply bill you for the steel as well as the associated freight charges. The freight charge amount would be what they bill their own customer.. yup.. often alot higher than what you're getting because they too are making money on the freight. They offer to deliver the steel to their customer's door, and you're their supplier... their rate could be higher than what they pay you. I encounter this most often on international loads: they'll put the freight rate they're charging their customer on the invoice, and the carrier will look at that and conclude that I'm robbing them. I then have to explain that the rate on the invoice is not what I'm getting.. its the rate the shipper is charging their customer for the transportation. Sure glad your driver is ok.. very close call.
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Site Supporter
My thought would have been to deliver both loads to the consignee destination, have the receiver mark the bills short shipped 1 bundle (or whatever the amount that came off in the accident ) with out advising that an accident had happened. Thus you only pay for the 1 bundle. Unless you can find some way to get legal recourse from the shipper you will be on the hook, as the law says it's the drivers responsibility to maintain care and control of load and vehicle. Glad the driver came out of this ok, looks like by the skin of his teeth.
There is a company in Thorold that ships big rolls of drywall paper is van trailers, they have a few pictures in the shipping office of trailers rolled over and walls peeled open when the rolls break loose. They just laugh at the carriers as they make the driver nail in the blocking on the floor for the load, which makes the driver responsible. Crazy that these type of shipping company's can even sleep at night knowingly putting peoples life's in danger.
"H" or "I" beams have always been a disaster to try and tie down properly. When the shipper bundles them together, the tighter you try and tie them down (I always use chains instead of straps on this kinda stuff) the beams always shift. The only way to move them without a lot of fear of them shifting is to place dunnage between each one and stretch your chains so tight they're almost welded to the deck, loading them tight to a headboard is a good idea too. Even them they can still shift as evidenced by your pics. Glad your driver wasn't hurt, he or she needs to go buy a lottery ticket.


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