Never A Dull Moment

War in Iraq dominated the national headlines in 2003, reality TV mushroomed, the economy improved slightly and the Cubs lost the pennant (again). Trucking, too, had its share of ups and downs:

  • The Transportation Security Administration announced plans to do background checks on hazmat-endorsed CDL holders. Bad news for anyone who’s committed any of a long list of crimes. Good news for the rest of you.
  • The number of truck-related fatalities dropped below 5,000 for the first time since 1995. Good news for everyone who calls the highway home.
  • Diesel prices hit an all-time high of $1.77 in March. The good news? They dropped considerably and were around $1.46 when we went to press. The bad news? Mideast turmoil, OPEC’s production cuts and winter weather mean fuel prices remain a wild card.
  • The United States opened its border to Mexican carriers, before closing it again in compliance with a court order requiring a lengthy environmental impact statement. Good news for unions, safety advocates, environmentalists and those who see Mexican truckers as a threat to their livelihood. Bad news for Mexican truckers and free trade.
  • And last but certainly not least, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration introduced the new hours-of-service rule. Its impact remains to be seen, but the good news is you can be certain that your services will be in greater demand.
  • As we head into 2004, experts predict that increases in capital spending, retail sales and manufacturing will improve freight volumes. But since economic predictions can be about as accurate as weather forecasts, your best bet is to watch your costs closely and stay informed.

    Happy Holidays and best wishes for a happy – and profitable – 2004.

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