Nearly two-thirds of Minnesota trucking fleets expect the Minnesota economy to grow at modest levels in 2011, according to survey results released by the Minnesota Trucking Association.

The survey showed that 60 percent of the reporting trucking fleets anticipate Minnesota's economy will grow between 1 percent and 3 percent in the next year, while 30 percent project the economy to be flat.

Minnesota truckers are largely planning to hold both fleet size and driver hiring constant during the next 12 months; 65 percent reported plans to retain fleets size at their current number of power units.

"This survey suggests that trucking capacity in Minnesota will tighten during 2011," said MTA President John Hausladen. "Growing shipper demand and flat truck inventories have led to rate increases in the past, and we expect the same to be true in the coming year. This should bolster the trucking industry's ability to increase driver pay, which has taken a hit over the past two years."

"While slightly more than half of fleets expect to purchase new equipment, it appears they will be primarily replacing older equipment," said Hausladen. "This is good news for the environment as more trucks are converted to cleaner-burning engines."

The survey was conducted from September 9-16, 2010.