Fleet Management

Truckers Have Rosy Economic Outlook

June 10, 2009

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Truckers expressed a hopeful outlook on the future of the economy in a recent survey.
Transport Capital Partners, which conducts a quarterly Business Expectations survey, found that the industry expects conditions such as freight volumes, rate stability, insurance renewals, credit and mergers and acquisitions to improve in the next 12 months.

In general, 36.9 percent of participants anticipate business volumes to pick up in the next year, compared to 21.4 percent in February and 17 percent in November of last year.

Carriers also believe rate pressures may have reached a bottom, with 54 percent saying that rates will stay the same. While the number expecting a drop in rates was deduced by half in relation to the last survey, those that expect rates to increase amounted to 16.4 percent, compared with 11.7 percent of hopefuls in February.

The Transport Capital survey of truckers' expectations also line up with the University of Michigan's reading of consumer confidence in April, which climbed to its highest point since the financial crisis hit in September.

Truckers are also not in a hurry to get out of Dodge, according to the study. This time around, the number of carriers thinking about leaving the industry if the environment does not improve in the next six months dropped to 13 percent from 22 percent in the first quarter. Most carriers, 57 percent, are experiencing stable credit relationships, while 37 percent feel their banks have been supportive.

Three out of four firms noted that improving fuel economy by limiting truck speed was their first priority in boosting profit. Reducing the number of non-driving employees was another effective step to increasing profit, with six out of ten implementing this. Other popular methods included reducing driver pay and benefits, reducing non-driver pay and benefits, parking trucks and selling off truck capacity.

More info: www.transportcap.com.

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