Trucking Demand Dips in 2016
While trucking demand is known to fluctuate regularly in small amounts, March 2016 showed some particularly unfavorable numbers. While some sources which are traditionally used to measure trends in the trucking industry can be in contrast to one another in certain cases, all sources pointed to a decrease in demand at the end of this quarter. Both The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index and a report from the American Trucking Association indicate a decrease in pricing and demand.
A surge in demand surprised many analysts in February, leading many to believe that demand would decrease shortly after. Another factor that contributed to the dip was shrinking consumer activity in multiple sectors and excess inventories. Excess capacity on highways also caused issues, with per-mile pricing for truckload carriers dropping by 0.6% since last year. The problem of capacity may result in a continued loss of demand according to trucking analysts.
High inventory levels at commercial outlets are usually a bad sign for the trucking industry, as it results in fewer goods being needed to keep businesses performing as usual. While many trucking companies experience a steady decrease in demand throughout the first few months of the year, the loss is never an easy one to deal with. Planning ahead and adjusting routes accordingly can ease the loss, but the effects are felt by everyone from logistics specialists to drivers.
Less demand means less drivers on the road, a smaller demand for freight-management services, and a decrease in available trucking job opportunities. Most companies focus their efforts on growth during this time period, but the sudden dip may have caught many big names in the industry off guard. Still, this type of data can prove valuable in the future as it will allow trucking companies to more accurately predict and plan for such changes. Truckers can usually expect a slow but steady rise in demand after a significant dip like this one, so numbers may show a significant improvement in the near future.