Recovery may not be what it seems
July 27, 2010 - SCMR Editorial
Tonnage and carloads carried continues to rise on the strength of the holiday surge. Retailers have banked on returning consumer confidence and spending and orders are up. West coast imports are up and intermodal rail shipments are mirroring the rise and will probably have the best numbers since 2006. Rates for ocean and air are skyrocketing and rates are beginning to inch up in rail and truck. Trucking bankruptcies in 2010 have right-sized the industry more in line with demand…for now.
Yet on the horizon I hear rumblings of capacity shortages – trucking companies turning down loads because they can’t handle them, shippers unable to find carriers to fit their immediate shipping schedules. The truck driver shortage, especially for experienced drivers, is showing up in all sectors now. The signs in the transportation sector seem to be trending in the right direction, but growth is slow and volatile. There is still much uncertainty and fear regarding the economic future. Businesses are reluctant to invest or hire new workers and consumers have not shown that they are ready to return to earlier spending patterns.
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