INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Freight forecasting and research firm FTR Associates has predicted truck tonne miles in the US will be down 2.2% this year and will increase only 0.7% next year.
The company made the prediction at the recent Freight Transportation Conference Americas Freight Transportation Through 2011.
A panel featuring speakers from Con-Way and Celadon shed light on issues impacting trucking such as hours-of-service changes, the driver shortage and highway congestion. They also discussed issues unique to the LTL sector such as further consolidation, union contracts and significant changes in services being offered.
James Meil, chief economist with Eaton Corporation also joined some other economists in predicting the housing situation will likely continue hurting the transportation industry well into 2008. However, the economists predicted a strong outlook for industrial production and manufacturing.
Rail representatives said that railroad tonne miles in the US will drop 2.3% in 2007 but will jump 1.8% in 2008. The current decline is attributed to a slowing economy.
Shippers participated in a panel discussion in which they predicted freight hauling capacity will remain tight over the long-term due to a driver shortage and increasing congestion. They agreed that mode selection was key to good transportation management and said they were continuously evaluating the best mode to use.
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