The economy, freight growth and the re-regulation of the trucking industry, should be the three main issues carriers should be monitoring closely in the coming years, says FTR president Eric Starks in a State of Freight Webinar.
As reported by Truck News, Starks explained the economy is growing modestly but strengthening, leading to higher freight volumes, which could place further pressure on capacity and an acceleration of rates.
“In the near-time, the risks continue to be on the upside,” Starks said. “In general, things continue to be looking relatively healthy for the freight markets.”
Spot market rates seem to be leveling after a period of sharp growth. “I think we’re in that point right now. The spot market is settling down and contract rates are starting to move higher,” he said.
However, impending trucking legislation and regulation in the U.S. could make it more difficult for carriers to hire drivers and perhaps bear some productivity losses.
“We’re seeing a major run-up within this environment that would suggest it will be very difficult to hire drivers, or we’ll see losses in productivity within the industry so they’re going to have to hire new drivers. It’s going to be a problem for some time.”
As a result, Truck News reports, there is another trend of increasing collaboration between shippers and carriers,
“Shippers are going to have to work with truck carriers to create more capacity, to free up drivers and equipment,” Starks said. “That’s the real area where we could see some productivity enhancements.”
Extreme weather, while it can’t be controlled, is another area fleets need to do better at planning for, Starks said. “Our industry doesn’t do a good job of planning for weather.”