The economic recovery is here and it’s real. Now what?

I’ve been speaking with many trucking company CEOs over the past few months and what I’ve hearing has been consistent, whether they run small companies or large: The focus going forward has to be on smart growth and that means being a lot more attentive to profitability.
Motor carriers did all sorts of things to survive the deepest freight recession of our lifetime. Some strategies were smart, others not. Some plans were hatched with a good deal of thought, others devised in desperation. Either way if you made this far, you survived. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. But the cold reality is that rates and profits took a real hit over the past two years and now it’s time to get to work repairing the damage.
There’s no time to spend reminiscing about past battles. Tomorrow’s normal is already here and it’s much different from yesterday’s normal. You will need to figure out how to navigate your company through this new reality.
And that’s exactly what our third annual Transportation Company Workshop, set for Wednesday, May 25th at the Capitol Centre Banquet Hall in Mississauga, is designed to help you do (click here to register: )
Once again we have partnered with Dan Goodwill and Associates to put together a comprehensive agenda to help you revitalize your transportation business in this time of economic uncertainty and technological change.
We are going to take a deep dive into how to improve the profitability of your transportation business through better information management and by going into detail about how to best approach e-tenders and RFPs.
I will personally be hosting both a retailer and a manufacturer roundtable this time and you will hear first hand from some of the nation’s largest shippers about what they expect in 2011 , both in terms of shipment volumes and their expectations from carriers. I will also host a motor carrier roundtable to discuss successful business development strategies.
And, of course, we will start the morning with the latest economic overview from Scotia Bank’s senior economist, Carlos Gomes. Carlos didn’t flinch with his cautious but optimistic approach last year when others were predicting a double dip recession and he’s been proven right. This year we also have a great close with a session on Customs, with government officials from CBSA going over key changes to border legislation.
Business success in the future will require an integrated communications strategy and increasingly this means using social media. Our workshop includes a session on how to link your brand, web site and blog into a coherent and effective business plan.
And, finally, you won’t be going anywhere in 2011 and beyond without a sound HR plan. Our workshop includes two sessions on how to recruit and retain top talent.
Throw in a delicious lunch and some great networking opportunities and I believe this is an event you should not miss. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.
Click here to register:

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With more than 25 years of experience reporting on transportation issues, Lou is one of the more recognizable personalities in the industry. An award-winning writer well known for his insightful writing and meticulous market analysis, he is a leading authority on industry trends and statistics.

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  • We have seen a good surge in confidence for owner operators and micro fleet owners (ie. 10 trucks or less) (this is the business we cater to). They have said business has steadied and one key denominator of the successful ones is proper re-investment back into the company, emphasis on cashflow and knowing when to say NO to bad or marginal business propositions. THe good thing however about a downward economy recently is that it has weeded out the bad in the industry that in the end raises costs for everyone else. We are confident that there will be a cautious, yet comfortable growth period in the next few years for the entire industry.

  • Lou: This is the most optimistic commentary you have been able to publish in three years or longer. I am delighted that there is a sense of good business ahead. The problem is having the Banks, Leasing companies and Financiers want to co-operate and share the optimism.
    Mark Borkowski
    Columnist for MotorTruck – Fleet Executive