Everywhere you look in the freight world, freight activity has been exceptionally strong through June, with ships, trucks and planes scarce and in high demand. Our team, like everyone arranging freight today, is working harder than ever in this challenging environment, to keep customers’ supply chains running smoothly. There is far more freight that needs to be moved in the U.S. than there are trucks available to move it. For all of 2010, the industry saw gains, but things have supercharged in June. If you were managing freight transportation in 2003 and 2004, you’ll know exactly what is going on. If you were not, here’s the situation.
The economy is strong, but it met a much smaller trucking industry. Trucking’s recession began in 2007—before the U.S. economy slid. Since then, an estimated 13% of the trucking fleet of equipment and drivers have exited the industry. Truckers are still leaving the industry. Some are retiring, selling or declaring bankruptcy, and according to FTR Associate’s economist, Nöel Perry, who told the National Industrial Transportation League on June 10 in Washington, DC, some truckers are being foreclosed upon. Perry stated that banks are foreclosing on carriers now that their cash flows have improved and their assets have more value. During the depths of the recession, there was no market for used trucks and trailers, so it was more sensible for banks to keep the carrier afloat. The market for selling a troubled carrier’s equipment is better now—now that carriers are seeing light ahead.