Despite predictions of economic turbulence ahead, the operating environment for trucking is expected to remain relatively stable through 2016, according to trucking market analysts at FTR.
FTR said 2016 holds “placid conditions” for trucking companies. Capacity is expected to remain tight, but adequate, FTR predicts.
However, the industry forecaster also warned two conditions could restrict capacity and lead to rate increases: if the FMCSA reinstates currently suspended hours-of-service changes and if weather shocks to truck productivity turn out to be greater than anticipated.
“The trucking environment is still quite healthy. There is no doubt that growth has slowed for certain segments, and there are increasing uncertainties surrounding growth prospects for the US economy. However, contract rates are still rising, albeit slowly, and there is very little capacity that is exiting the system,” said Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer at FTR.
“Falling fuel is clearly helping cash flow for small carriers, but declining spot market rates are negating some of that improvement. Overall, the trucking industry seems to be in a relatively stable environment as we move into 2016.”