The increases in freight volume that the trucking industry typically sees every third and fourth quarter has all but vanished, reports FleetOwner.com.
Those last two quarters of the year represent the holiday boom period for retailers, as they stock up in anticipation of the Christmas shopping frenzy.
Changes in consumer buying habits and the recession have put a major damper on shipments, leaving many in the trucking industry to wonder if the “peak season” will ever return.
“Overall, the business environment continues to present formidable challenges, characterized by weak demand, excess capacity and pricing pressure,” FleetOwner.com reports Douglas Stotlar, Con-way’s President and CEO, as saying in its earnings summary. “We expect these conditions to persist in the near term, diminishing the prospects for earnings growth.”
Eric Starks, President of FTR Associates, a freight transportation forecasting firm, is a little more hopeful, saying that freight volume is improving, but not a marked levels.
“What's more, year-over-year freight data is likely to look a lot better for the remainder of the year, as a year ago at this time the economy was at the beginning of a month's long freefall,” Supply Chain Management Review reports.
While freight volume is not where analysts had hoped it to be, the industry will have its eyes on consumer spending reports post-Black Friday. Maybe then, the trucking industry will finally have a definitive sign of what direction freight volume will go in for the remainder of the year.