Projections for next year’s shipment volumes from shippers always tend to be overly optimistic. But the 47% of shippers expecting an increase in their shipment volumes for 2009 was by far the lowest we have seen in the five-year history of our Transportation Buying Trends survey. In past years the percentage of shippers expecting an increase in shipment volumes in the following year generally fell within a 61-68% range.
Our survey of Canadian motor carriers, conducted in the late fall of 2008, however, found carriers to be even more pessimistic than their customers about freight volumes for 2009. The largest percentage of respondents (42%) expected freight volumes to decline in 2009, making for the second straight subpar year. Less than a fifth of motor carrier executives surveyed expected freight volumes to increase in 2009.With freight volumes remaining depressed and shippers viewing the trucking sector as still being in excess capacity, more than three quarters of motor carriers expect rates in 2009 to either remain static or decrease. And the majority of those that do believe they can secure rate increases, expect increases (exclusive of fuel surcharges) to be below 4%. Despite the gloomy predictions, however, it’s important to note there is anecdotal evidence for continued growth for motor carriers serving more recession-proof areas such as the pharmaceutical, dedicated and food sectors.
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