The Transport Capital Partners (TCP) Fourth Quarter 2011 Business Expectations Survey found carriers optimistic for the year ahead, with 61% of the carriers expecting volumes to increase in 2012 and only 7% expecting volumes to decrease. Both larger and smaller carriers responded similarly.
Richard Mikes, TCP partner and survey leader, said, “Carriers shared a higher level of confidence despite the rollercoaster ride reflected in stock market over the last quarter.”
The survey volume outlook correlated with the majority of carriers reporting freight rates moving up over the past three months as well.
“Freight rates in the spot market are generally upward according to many sources as capacity remains flat and volumes are pushing upward in the industry,” said Lana Batts, TCP partner.
The brightest light in the survey was that almost three-fourths of the carriers expect rates to increase in 2012.
“Most economists are seeing growth in the economy, albeit it still slow. This is pushing more freight on to a very limited truck base, with shippers and brokers scrambling for trucks as carriers’ phones ‘ring off the wall,’” said Mikes.
Carriers are cautious, however, about adding trucks, according to other parts of the survey yet to be fully analyzed. Batts said, “The industry cut 15%-20% of their capacity by not buying new trucks, and most carriers and dealers are telling us that the new surge in orders is primarily to replace the aging national fleet, not to add more capacity.”
See www.transportcap.com for more.