The three most important things fleet executives should be monitoring are the economy, freight growth, and the reregulation of the trucking industry, according to Eric Starks, president of FTR Transportation Intelligence and speaker at last month’s State of Freight Webinar.
With the US GDP growing at 2.3%, the economy seems stable enough. However the goods-producing sector of the economy is growing at an impressive 6%. This puts pressure on the trucking industry as more and more goods need to be delivered.
“In the near-time, the risks continue to be on the upside. In general, things continue to be looking relatively healthy for the freight markets,” said Starks.
FTR claims that the reregulation of the trucking industry is a key component to be aware of. Proposed legislation could make it difficult for carriers to hire additional drivers while driving their business because of impending productivity losses.
“There are a large number of regulations coming into play that we anticipate to happen between 2016 and 2018,” Starks said. “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.”
FTR also noted the trend of collaborations between shippers and carriers, a partnership that also might be affected in light of new regulations.
“Shippers are going to have to work with truck carriers to create more capacity and to free up drivers and equipment,” Starks said. “That’s the real area where we could see some productivity enhancements.”
In closing, Starks offered tips on how fleets can be successful now and in the future. He advised that freight companies measure and track all of their data and information, communicate effectively with customers and employees, and have a plan for every market condition.