Carriers and transportation analysts expect freight volumes and rates to stay relatively flat throughout 2013. In its Fourth Quarter 2012 Business Expectations Survey, the consulting company Transport Capital Partners reported that 45 percent of carriers expect business volumes to remain the same rather than increase in the year ahead. Within the report, carriers were split as to whether rates will remain the same (46 percent) or increase (44 percent) this year. Larger carriers with revenues exceeding $25 million were more optimistic than smaller carriers, and 20 percent of smaller carriers expected rates to decrease in the next twelve months. The survey also found that 21 percent of all carriers reported rate increases over the last three months while 70 percent of all carriers reported that their rates remained the same for the last three months.
In addition, most carriers are not adding capacity, said John Larkin, a senior transportation analyst with Wall Street firm Stifel Nicolaus. Late last month Bob Costello, chief economist at the American Trucking Associations, said he expects slower tonnage growth in 2013 than 2012 as better housing starts and auto sales will be offset by slower factory output and consumer spending. To help truckstop and travel plaza operators better understand the economic factors that will influence the trucking industry and, therefore, travel plaza operations, Costello will share his insights into the year ahead during The NATSO Show.
This article originally ran in NATSO News Weekly (NNW), NATSO's member only weekly electronic newsletter. NNW is packed with the latest updates on government and business issues affecting the truckstop and travel plaza industry.
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