Carrier survey shows continued optimism despite rising costs

by Today's Trucking

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 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.”

Picture of a truck at a loading dock
(Photo: iStock)

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. 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,

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