Freight brokers are less pessimistic than anticipated given the challenges the industry faces from declining volume and rate pressures, according to results of a semi-annual freight broker survey conducted by Bloomberg Intelligence and Truckstop.
"Freight brokers appear unfazed by the collapse in spot truckload rates and the effects of moderating economic activity on demand, contractual rates and gross margins," said Lee Klaskow, senior freight transportation and logistics analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, in a press release. "Only 12% of respondents expect gross margins to contract over the next six months."
The Bloomberg | Truckstop Truckload 2H-22 survey found:
1. Broker Demand Sentiment is Upbeat
About 41% of respondents said volume rose in the second half of 2022 compared with a year earlier, about 6 percentage points lower than in the survey in the first half of 2022. Though more respondents reported growth, the magnitude of declines were greater.
2. Brokers Remain Relatively Optimistic About Demand Growth
About 49% of those surveyed expect demand growth over the next six months versus 45% in the first half of 2022 and 76% in second half of 2022.
3. Brokers Split About Where Rates are Headed
Spot rates excluding fuel surcharges have fallen 24% over the past 12 months after peaking at the end of 2021. About 34% expect rates to decrease in the next six months, while 28% see them rising.
4. Brokers Less Enthusiastic About Raise Contract Rates with Shippers
About 22% of brokers polled expect to boost rates in the next six months; 14 percentage points below the survey in the first half of 2022 and 34 percentage points behind the report in the second half of 2022.
"The majority of brokers surveyed reported growth from the previous year," said Truckstop CEO Kendra Tucker. "This tells us that the technology and solutions we provide brokers continue to be an integral part of helping them grow their business in all market conditions."
The Bloomberg | Truckstop survey of freight brokers' most recent sample size was 112, consisting of freight forwarders, third-party logistics providers and broker agents, as well as asset and non-asset-based brokers. Most respondents (74%) have 1-50 employees. Of those surveyed, non-asset-based brokers made up the biggest group (40%).
The complete survey is available to Bloomberg Terminal subscribers via BI.
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