Recently surveyed truck fleets are not reporting “doom and gloom” despite a slowing industry environment and a desire for more freight by some, according to the Q2 CK Commercial Vehicle Research Fleet Sentiment Report.
With trucking industry indicators showing a slowdown this year, many of the fleets surveyed were cautious about adding capacity with new trucks and trailers, but overall they felt positive about the industry. Fleets rated the current environment an average 3.91 out of 5, the lowest rating since the fourth quarter of 2013. However, many fleets still rated business with a 5.
Other key takeaways from the Q2 2016 Fleet Sentiment Report are:
- A significant number of trucks have already been outfitted with electronic logging devices ahead of the mandate.
- Large fleets are expecting to order more trucks starting in the second quarter as part of planned purchasing, but expected trailer orders are down from the first-quarter survey and year-over-year.
- Equipment utilization is down compared with the previous quarter but the summer season is expected to increase fleet utilization.
- There was a slight increase in fleets affected by the driver shortage, but the level is below where it has been in the past few years when freight demand was higher.
The Sentiment Report surveyed 47 fleets operating 37,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks and 91,000 trailers.
"The comments we received regarding 'how’s business' are more positive for some smaller carriers but show slowing in the overall freight economy,” said Chris Kemmer of CK Commercial Vehicle Research. “One thing that was apparent as I was inputting the data from each fleet respondent: There is a wide fluctuation between what is important to one fleet vs. what is important to another.”
CK Commercial Vehicle Research has surveyed fleets for more than a decade and data reported in the Fleet Sentiment Report tracks activity from 2006. CKCVR surveys fleet advisors representing a mix of large, medium and small for-hire, private and government fleet operations.