Panel: Trucking Has Cause for Optimism Despite Headwinds

Trucking and logistics executives at National Industrial Transportation League’s 2020 Summit discussed the contract environment, trucking capacity, truck parking, driver retention, delivery demands and hours-of-service regulations.

With a down market in 2019 behind them, the execs were unanimous in being cautiously optimistic in 2020, despite prevailing challenges, reports Freightwaves.

“Obviously 2019 was a challenging market to say the least, and I’m glad it’s in the rearview mirror from a truckload operator perspective,” said Justin Harness, chief marketing officer of U.S. Xpress. “It’s still to be determined what 2020 shakes out to be — I do believe we will see some inflection in the supply-and-demand equilibrium at some point midyear.”

Along with Harness, other panelists included David Marsh, chief operating officer of Celtic Intermodal; Travis Krous, director of transportation for Nestlé Purina; Jeff Tucker, CEO of Tucker Company Worldwide; and Mark Willis, host of the Road Dog Trucking show on Sirius XM radio.

Tucker also said the freight marketplace could be nearing an equilibrium of supply and demand, but it’s still a wait-and-see situation.

“I see the marketplace beginning to transition and stratify, and because we’ve got these visibility tools, prices aren’t coming down quite as much as you would expect in high-service scenarios,” Tucker said. “You can’t afford it, you can’t afford to be late.”

Marsh said it does seem like the market “has hit the bottom” in terms of rates. “The good news from an intermodal perspective is that the services responded very nicely and a lot of customers said they enjoyed the services we provided,” Marsh said.

Krous said Nestlé Purina tries to work with its carriers by being a “shipper of choice.”

“As everyone knows, carriers have struggled to find drivers. So what is it that we can do to help them keep the drivers and retain the drivers? We can do things like parking at our facility,” Krous said. “So we allow parking at our facilities. We don’t advertise it. We don’t want a bunch of trucks just showing up and parking there But we’re not going to kick you off the lot. Those kinds of things.”

Krous said they have also looked at providing Wi-Fi for drivers at Nestlé facilities, as well as making invoicing and payments easier.

Full story here.

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