Trucking Remains Sluggish Despite Economic Growth
Although the economy is showing slight signs of improvement, trucking continues to perform below optimal levels. According to a recent report by The Federal Reserve, demand for trucking services has dropped. The Fed publishes summaries of information concerning the overall state of the economy eight times a year, and the information pertains to their twelve separate service districts.
While Chicago’s district reported lower demand for transportation services, Cleveland’s district reported that freight volumes had dropped significantly. The Atlanta and Dallas districts also reported lower rail cargo volume than normal. Excess capacity and continued expenses have led the multi-year trucking slump to continue. However, ports showed improved activity.
Richmond’s district boasted particularly strong port volume with rising container volume at some ports – though volume decreased at certain locations in the area. Strong imports in the areas of automobiles and consumer goods helped boost port activity, and Atlanta’s ports reported slight decreases in totals for container traffic, bulk cargo, and machinery volumes.
St. Louis’ district reported mixed reviews. While expansion was present in some areas, other carriers reported that business had declined due to factors such as energy sector slumps, changes in retail distribution, and overcapacity.
In the Richmond, Chicago, and Dallas districts, reduced heavy truck sales were reported, with one Dallas dealer mentioning that higher costs due to new equipment standards could be weakening business. Whether its residual economic ramification burdening the trucking industry after continued slumps or the unavoidable result of an industry going through massive change, trucking continues to perform at weaker levels than many would’ve hope for.