The American Transportation Research Institute has released its 2009 “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry Report“, and guess what the top issue of concern is? Right on! The economy. What else?
Last year, the economy was ranked number two. This year, over 51% of survey respondents pretty much said “It’s the economy, stupid.”
The trucking industry took some hard hits in 2009, when the fallout from the recession was really began to show itself. As we all know, the health of the trucking industry is still widely viewed as a reflection of the health of the economy, and as such, all eyes are on how we cope and recover.
According to the report, freight volumes likely will not usher the industry out of the recession, as it has in previous recovery periods. Consumer demand for goods is still quite low, and in fact fell into a much steeper hole than previous economic downturns. Existing supply inventories also remain high.
Government regulation ranks as the number two issue of concern for the trucking industry. A new Presidential Administration and other local, state, and federal elections put this issue on the industry’s radar this year, the ATRI report says, and many “industry stakeholders anticipate a new era of costly government mandates,“ possibly as a result.
Number three on the list was fuel issues, even though gas prices have dropped by 45% since spiking above $4.70 a gallon in July 2008. Some seem to think that the decline in fuel prices are temporary, however, and as soon as the economy returns to “normal,” demand will cause prices to increase once again.
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