August 2013 Trucking Industry MarketPulse

What’s the pulse on the trucking market right now?

We conducted some research surveying for-hire trucking executives in August 2013 to find out what their thoughts are on business conditions. What were their top concerns and thoughts on equipment? Are they what you expected? Let us know in the comments!

Key Findings:

How do the fleet executives feel about business conditions?

Business conditions improved moderately in August with about 36% saying business was better and about 13% saying things were worse. In addition, the Carrier Experience Index was up in August.

About 58% of carriers expect business conditions to be better in the next six months, while only about 2% expect business to be worse, adjusting for seasonality.

What’s the outlook for equipment?

Nearly half (48.6%) plan to replace aging equipment without changing fleet size over the next six months. About 35% plan to grow their fleets with larger carriers more inclined to do so than small carriers.

What are their top concerns right now?

Driver availability remains the top concern with about 57% of trucking executives selecting it as their top worry; freight pricing was a distant second at about 17%.

For smaller carriers, the gap between driver availability and freight pricing was closer – 39.9% versus 25%, respectively. Meanwhile, driver availability was the No. 1 concern of nearly 64% of larger carriers.

Quotes of the Month:

“There is plenty of freight to move if we only had enough drivers in seats to move it.”

 

“New HOS reset rule is a real problem for our company. For Saturday work we need to find over 100 fresh CDLs to accomplish what our existing driving force handled. This is a huge task and waste. Plus, the already-underpaid drivers lose the extra work.”
“Business levels are high across our customer base. All indications are they will continue that way. Lack of good drivers is the current issue. New hours of service rule having an impact on service levels.”

 

“Where was all the freight the last three months?”

Note on Research Methodology:

The August 2013 Randall-Reilly MarketPulse report is based on an ongoing survey that was sent to 202 senior executives of for-hire trucking companies who had agreed to participate monthly. The panel includes executives of carriers that operate at least 10 power units and does not change except to add new panel members that agree to join or to remove those who fail to participate for several consecutive months.

The survey was sent initially on August 29, 2013, with reminders sent out on September 4 and 9, 2013. Out of the total pool, 105 carrier executives completed the questionnaire.

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