Carriers’ year-ahead expectations falter in face of anemic economy, survey finds

Sept. 27, 2011
The recent Third Quarter 2011 Transport Capital Partners (TCP) Business Expectations Survey found that only 45% of the carrier executives surveyed expect volume increases in the next 12 months compared with 80% in May 2011.

The recent Third Quarter 2011 Transport Capital Partners (TCP) Business Expectations Survey found that only 45% of the carrier executives surveyed expect volume increases in the next 12 months compared with 80% in May 2011.

“The weak-to-flat economy and general malaise shown in jobs outlook has truckers joining other businesses in a lack of confidence in the recovery,” said Richard Mikes, TCP partner and survey founder. A similar percentage (48%) of the carriers shifted to a “remain the same” outlook this quarter.

“TCP expects the next year to be heavily influenced by macro events in this tenuous environment,” said Lana Batts, TCP partner.

In contrast to last quarter, smaller carriers (under $25 million in revenue) are more optimistic, with 54% expecting business volume increases versus 38% of the larger carriers. Expectations for rate increases showed a decline for the first time in a year with 61% of the carriers expecting increases, and a third of the carriers expecting rates to remain the same. TCP notes that truckers are becoming more cautious, and this attitude may be reflected in future truck orders.

“Increased government regulation has been felt by the industry, and it is apparent that uncertainty is taking its toll on truckers,” said Batts.

Mikes said, “Recent downward trends in consumer confidence, uneven freight demand reports, and spot market volatility are all signs of an economy whose direction is uncertain in carriers’ minds.”

Both partners directed the survey and analyzed the findings. TCP couples the survey results with conversations they hold daily with carriers and others in the industry to present an insightful dialogue on key issues.

Visit www.transportcap.com for more information.

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