A watchful eye on capacity always needs to be open, say trucking industry stakeholders

At the recent FTR Transportation Conference in Indianapolis, there were widespread views regarding market factors germane to capacity expansion.

By ·

When addressing how, if, why, or when motor carriers plan to increase capacity, it is pretty clear there are many things standing in the way of doing so, intentions aside.

These things include: the economy; driver hiring, availability, training and retention; demand; and the increasing amount of regulations the industry faces. There are other things, too, of course, so this can be viewed as a short list.

At the recent FTR Transportation Conference in Indianapolis, there were widespread views regarding market factors germane to capacity expansion.

Small-to-mid-size carriers, explained Annette Sandberg, CEO of TransSafe Consulting LLC and former Deputy Administrator and Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, explained that small-to-mid-sized carriers are feeling the impact of regulations like the Hours-of-Service regulation that kicked in last July and CSA, among others. And on the capacity side, Sandberg noted that this has led to carriers of this size having concerns over losing loads to larger carriers.

Even with slow economic growth, coupled with the federal government shutdown, capacity availability has been “tight but predictable due to the moderate recovery, but available pockets here and there make it more predictable in helping to find trucks,” said Jim Tucker, COO of Tucker Worldwide, a global freight brokerage services provider. 

Tucker added that there concerns remain on the supply side for carriers and how to deal with ongoing lack of available drivers.

And the overall sentiment from both carriers and shippers at the conference was that some type of capacity crunch does appear to be inevitable.

John Vesco, executive vice president for Comtrak, a subsidiary of intermodal services provider, the Hub Group, explained that with a capacity crunch likely coming down the road, it is imperative to be prepared for it, especially as Owner-Operators exit the business, due largely to cost pressures.

“Drivers are a precious commodity that we want to hold on to, especially the good ones,” he said. “With HOS and CSA, it is clear things are going to tighten up, and you want to have the best drivers out there for service and reliability.”

Stifel Nicolaus analyst John Larkin observed that strong driver recruiting is the best way to keep driver capacity utilization at bay, with the largest and most sophisticated carriers doing the best job to recruit experienced drivers, as well as offer driver training programs.

Ways to increase capacity cited by Larkin include getting them home regularly, new trucks, and a competitive pay scale.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Capacity · FTR Associates · Trucking · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Reduce Order Processing Costs by 80%
Sales order automation software will seamlessly transform inbound emailed and printed purchase orders into electronic sales orders that can be automatically processed into your ERP system with 100% accuracy.
Download Today!
From the June 2016 Issue
In the wildly unstable ocean cargo carrier arena, three major consortia are fighting for market share, with some players simply hanging on for survival. Meanwhile, shippers may expect deployment shifts as a consequence of the Panama Canal expansion.
WMS Update: What do we need to run a WMS?
Supply Chain Software Convergence: Synchronization Realized
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Optimizing Global Transportation: How NVOCCs Can Use Technology to Operate More Profitably
Global transportation isn't getting any easier to manage, especially for non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs). Faced with uncertainties like surcharges—but needing to remain competitive when bidding against other providers—NVOCCs need the right mix of historical data, data intelligence, and technology support to make quick and effective decisions. During this webcast you'll learn how Bolloré Transport & Logistics was able to streamline its global logistics and automate contract management.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Top 50 U.S. and Global 3PLs 2016: Technology Now the Key Differentiator
Following last year’s merger and acquisition frenzy, the speed of technology implementation by the...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....

Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...
Port of Oakland launches smart phone apps for harbor truckers
Innovation uses Bluetooth, GPS to measure how long drivers wait for cargo