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
Leveraging Florida Ports to Expand Two-Way Trade with Asia
Florida’s geography is convenient to global markets and serves as the perfect conduit for Asia-focused container trade. Florida Ports, seaport white papers, Benefits of using florida ports
Download Today!
From the April 2018 Logistics Management Magazine
As companies continue to search for the next generation of logistics management talent, the existing workforce is being asked to deliver more than ever before. While our survey respondents aren’t griping about the workload, they maintain that new challenges require more resources.
LM Viewpoint: 2018 Salary Survey, delivering more than ever
Smoother execution through S&OP
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Reshaping the Restaurant Supply Chain in the Digital Age
Get an inside look at how a leading restaurant group Bloomin’ Brands Inc (BBI), coordinates its complex supply chain to deliver an exceptional restaurant experience at the lowest cost to serve.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
34th Annual Salary Survey: Salary growth slows, tasks soar
As companies continue to search for the next generation of logistics management talent, the existing...
Evolution of E-commerce: The possibilities of tomorrow
We know e-commerce is reshaping logistics, but what are the technologies savvy managers can leverage...

State of Global Logistics: Delivering above and beyond
Industry experts agree that costs across all sectors worldwide will continue to rise in 2018, and...
2018 Rate Outlook: Economic Expansion, Pushing Rates Skyward
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued...