Private fleets could be “sitting in the catbird seat” as the US economy keeps gaining speed and freight volumes keep rising, says Kenny Vieth, , president and senior analyst of ACT Research.
Speaking at the National Private Truck Council annual meeting Vieth detailed how private carriage are in an envious position but must work harder over the next few years to stay on top as for-hire carriers are also poised for growth.
AS reported by Heavy Duty Trucking, Vieth pointed to the healthy US economy, namely rising consumer spending habits and disposable income, as the main driver for the private sector. While only a 1.2 to 1.3% rise in economic growth is expected for this year’s first quarter (mainly due to a second consecutive harsh winter in many US sates) the long-range economic picture will be “mostly happy” out to at least the second half of 2017 or even into early 2018.
Also, lower fuel costs provide a top-line offset to fleets – especially private carriers, he noted.
Another benefit for private fleets is they are not faced with the same level of equipment and driver capacity restrictions as for-hire carriers – although private companies are still not immune to the driver shortage despite higher wages and more regular home time for drivers.
Vieth praised private fleet management for having set their operations apart in recent years by providing “higher service levels, greater utilization of technology, superior safety and by viewing their drivers as team members.”
However, he advised that even if it’s taken for-hire fleets many years, they are catching up to the heights that private fleets have reached, posing a “challenge for private fleets to stay ahead.”