Record-low bankruptcies shows signs of stability

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Updated Aug 8, 2012

Though the economy is still (slowly) jabbing its way to a recovery from the 2008 and 2009 recession, a few numbers reported last week by research and analysis site TruckGauge (produced by Overdrive publisher Randall-Reilly Business Media) offer a peak into how the trucking industry has changed both in response to the recession and because of it.

The numbers, though, are slightly encouraging for those running even a one-truck operation.

TruckGauge’s report said that bankruptcies among trucking fleets hit a record low in the second quarter of this year, dropping from 160 in the first quarter of 2012 and from 240 from the same quarter in 2011.

The biggest impact, it would seem, is the amount of trucks taken off the road due to bankruptcy — TruckGauge says just 725 units were removed, at least half the amount of the next closest quarter. Bear in mind those numbers are just for failing fleets, not owner-operator businesses.

During the height of the recession, the second quarter of 2008, 46,000 trucks were taken off the road due to bankruptcy or fleet failures.

The average fleet size has also leaned up quite a bit; the report says today, the average fleet says is 10 trucks, down from the 50 trucks per fleet in the 08-09 era.

If fuel prices stay under $4 per gallon and freight demand stays up, there’s hope for stability even in the current fledging economy.



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