May 2014

CALIFORNIA GREENING. “Green” issues certainly do seem to be a permanent part of the American transportation landscape now. Alternative fuels, greater fuel efficiency, the environment and sustainability are all much more than buzz words. The “greening” of America’s trucking industry regulations will continue to present fleets with challenges and opportunities. The Alternative Clean Transportation Expo will take place May 5-8th in Long beach California and ATA is on board. “ATA is pleased to work with the organizers of ACT Expo, which brings together many of the key stakeholders in alternative transportation fuels," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "As our members look for every possible ounce of fuel cost savings, with an eye on coming fuel efficiency regulations, ACT Expo is a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the economic and environmental benefits of using alternative fuels and heavy-duty trucking efficiency technologies. We hope this event will be the first of many opportunities our two organizations have to work together."

LOOKING FOR DRIVERS? Yeah, you and everybody else. And it seems to be an international phenomenon, too. An article from The New Zealand Herald describes how trucking firms there are importing foreign nationals to fill empty trucks. They are recruiting drivers from Fiji, India, the Philippines and other countries as well. Higher pay does seem to help secure the driver force but could lead to ‘a bidding war for labor if something doesn’t give.” One New Zealand firm claims to have every single truck filled due to their pay structure which is roughly one third above prevailing rates. –from the New Zealand Herald.

MAYBE WE JUST NEED TO GROW OUR OWN FUTURE DRIVERS? Nearly 250 boy scouts, troop leaders and parents attended the 2014 Mid America Truck Show this year as part of a new partnership between Trucker Buddy and Lincoln Heritage Scout Council. The biggest heavy truck show in the world partners with leading advocates for enhancing the transportation in bringing some of our brightest youngsters to see just how exciting it can be to engage with the trucking industry. And the scouts earned a Trucker Merit Badge to boot. Now in our book, that’s a win-win-win.

2014 SHAPING UP TO BE STRONGER YEAR FOR TRUCKING INDUSTRY. But it’s a mixed bag. 2013 was a challenging year for many motor carriers thanks to regulators in Washington DC, weak freight demand and some arduous union negotiations. Gross revenues across the board were fairly stagnant. This, from the Journal of Commerce: “The Top 50 list’s revenue growth has decelerated since 2011, climbing 6 percent in 2012 after rising 11.6 percent in 2011, the peak year of the recovery so far for trucking, and 9.3 percent in 2010, according to the SJ Consulting Group data.”

Happily, we started seeing signs of strengthening in late 2013 so it would seem that for most truckers, 2014 is likely to be a better year. Noel Perry, senior consultant with FTR Transportation Intelligence, believes that a combination of bad weather, regulatory burdens and a capacity crisis will combine to create a perfect storm for increased trucking rates.

Hopefully, this momentum will keep us rolling into a healthier economic expansion overall and better annual results for the industry in 2014. So far, so good.

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”

-Herbert Spencer 1820-1903