Carriers continue to be optimistic about growth in freight volumes and rates this year, despite rising costs that are squeezing profitability.
That was the finding of a survey conducted by Truckstop.com and Bloomberg, which polled owner-operators and small fleets.
“Bullishness has stayed at a historical high for carriers despite recent spot market volatility,” said Lee Klaskow, senior freight transportation and logistics analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “The past three months have been a tale of the haves and have-nots when it comes to volume growth. Load growth could trend higher sequentially into May, providing some support to spot rates.”
Highlights of the survey included: About 72% of respondents expect load growth over the next six months; temperature-controlled carriers were most optimistic, followed by flatbed; 55% of respondents expect spot rates to rise in the next six months; and only 14% of respondents expect rates to decline.
Truckstop.com reported spot market demand rose 4.3% year over year in the first quarter, marking a seventh straight quarterly gain. About 37% of carriers hauled more loads in the first quarter while 32% saw a drop.
Carriers also expressed concerns about rising fuel costs, with 56% saying higher fuel costs are the industry’s biggest challenge. Lower rates were the second biggest concern, at 21%.
“Carriers polled for this survey remain relatively positive despite the headwinds facing the industry from rising fuel and equipment costs,” said Kendra Tucker, chief executive officer, Truckstop.com.
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