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Bradley predicts trucking setbacks

TORONTO, Ont. -- Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) chief, David Bradley, is warning that 2005 will not be as strong ...

TORONTO, Ont. — Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) chief, David Bradley, is warning that 2005 will not be as strong a year for the trucking industry as 2003-2004.

He made the comments at the annual logistics conference of a major food products distributor yesterday.

"There can be no denying, that even prior to the fall-out from Hurricane Katrina, 2005 was shaping up to be a bit of a retreat from the buoyant performance of 2003-04 for many segments of the trucking industry," Bradley said. However, he added "despite the softening of economic activity in most of the country and the fact that some carriers have felt pressured to give back some of the financial gains made in the previous two years, it is only a matter of time before the reality of continued cost increases for trucking labour, fuel and equipment set in and are fully passed on."

Bradley said the market has taken two steps forward and one step back.

"the capacity situation which precipitated the long-awaited, broad-based upward momentum in freight rates and accessorial charges in 2003-04, is not going to dissipate just because the economy takes a breather; in fact, the driver shortage is only going to get worse and barring a complete collapse in the North American economy this will absorb any capacity that might be freed up," Bradley predicted.

"Shippers who want to maintain a high level of transportation service, know that it is unrealistic to expect carriers who know their costs to be able to eat the kinds of operating cost increases we are presently experiencing. Those who don’t know their costs might try to undercut the market in an attempt to stay afloat, but they will not be around for long. It’s in no one’s interest to see those carriers drag the good companies down with them."

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