A new Transport Capital Partners survey shows better expectations among trucking company executives when it comes to rates and freight volume.

Credit: TCP

Credit: TCP

TCP says this breaks a three-year trend of lowering expectations for volume growth in the second quarter. More carriers expect volumes for the second quarter to hold steady.

Opinions diverge between larger carriers, those with over $25 million in revenues, and smaller carriers. In both groups, 50% expect volumes will increase. However, almost 40% of smaller carriers think volumes will decrease, compared to only 3% of their larger competitors. While 40% of larger carriers expect volumes to remain the same, just 11% of smaller carriers see volumes holding steady. 

“As the economy waits to sort out the cross currents of macro events and the change in Federal Reserve policies, freight volumes struggle to grow significantly,” says Richard Mikes, a TCP partner.

The survey also found a large majority of carriers, 80%, has seen rates hold steady over the past quarter. Optimistically, most carriers, 73%, are also expecting rates to increase in the next 12 months. Both large and small carriers share these positive expectations.

18% percent of carriers have seen rates increase, up from 11% last quarter. However, this is down from the 45% of carriers that reported rate increases a year ago. More smaller carriers than larger carriers have seen rates increase, 25% versus 14%.

“Even with modest improvement in freight demand, carriers are anticipating much needed higher rates from customers,” says Steven Dutro, TCP partner.

More results from the survey are available online