Economy

A shortage of drivers — and quality

I've been hearing since at least March that many carriers are once again scrounging for drivers. This means a return to business as usual in terms of a driver shortage, only this time it could more severe than normal. The reasons by now are well-known. The economy has been bouncing back. Imminent safety-related regulations -- notably Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 -- are expected to push a significant number of drivers out of the cab. Our friends at the ...

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‘Flatbed is particularly strong’ and other upbeat news

Lots of good economic reports all around for trucking in the last few days. If you’re not with a carrier who’s keeping you busy, figure out why or look elsewhere. Morgan Stanley’s truckload freight research report “continues to show strong trends … Flatbed is particularly strong.” Consequently, by the fourth quarter this year, on an annual basis, “rate increases of 4-5% should now be the base case. If fuel prices spike and a material restocking takes place, ...

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Factories humming; inventories start growing

Today’s report on manufacturing shows it expanded in March for the eighth consecutive month, says the Institute for Supply Management, which does a monthly survey of supply executives. The good news mirrors what many in the trucking industry have said in recent weeks about freight demand – and driver demand with it – picking up. ISM also says the overall economy grew for the 11th consecutive month. “The rate of growth as indicated by the PMI (Purchasing ...

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Saying goodbye to Michigan’s Te-Khi and Tekon independent truckstops

Soft freight and high fuel got you down? You're not alone. Though business for the nation's truckers has picked up since the extremely slow period we all saw last year, difficulties continue for many, and for two independent truckstops in Michigan the pressures were just too much. Writing in the Battle Creek Enquirer, Andy Fitzpatrick told a story today at once of long-running business difficulties brought to the breaking point and rich, well-remembered history.   The Te-Khi Travel Court ...

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Is it recovery yet?

It’s hard some weeks to stack up the economic reports and figure if things are getting better or worse. This week was no exception.

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A confident public and stronger freight

Two bits of news breaking Wednesday offered some encouragement that the economy, and trucking with it, will continue rebounding.

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Index at year’s highest level

The seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.7 percent in November.

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A creeping, sputtering recovery

It appears that trucking and the economy will be slouching toward health and stability during 2010. Here are forecasts from three sources.

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Manufacturing sustains its hot streak in November

Manufacturing monitor ISM issued a good news, bad news report today, but the good outweighs the bad.    The sector expanded in November for the fourth consecutive month, says the Institute for Supply Management. The downside is that the rate of growth is less than a month ago, and less than analysts expected.    “The signs are still encouraging for continuing growth as both new orders and production are still at very positive levels,” says Norbert Ore, ...

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Truck dealers analyze a year’s anemic sales

It still appears to be a buyer’s market for Class 8 trucks, according to a report from the truck dealers’ trade group. It’s been “a year of heavy depreciation for the highway sleeper market,” says the ATD/NADA Official Commercial Truck Guide. Considering the depressed conditions, prices could have dropped even lower, says Chris Visser, editor of the guide. "Anecdotal evidence suggests that an extremely active export market helped keep the domestic supply of used trucks at ...

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