INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Despite reports that the Canadian economy is bouncing back quicker than expected, it may be a long road back to prosperity for the US trucking industry, according to speakers at FTR Associates’ annual Freight Transportation Conference.
The two-day conference, held Aug. 25-27, featured speakers from the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, freight carriers, shippers, suppliers and consultants as well as FTR itself.
* The US recovery will be slowed by subdued consumer spending, leading to continued high unemployment and slow growth for freight volumes
* The US is currently at the bottom of its steepest freight decline since 1980-1982, with freight down 15% from the previous peak.
* It’ll be a buyer’s market for freight transportation services in the near-term, as depressed volumes and excess capacity continue to rule, putting continued pressure on carrier margins.
* High levels of excess capacity will continue, as US banks are still reluctant to foreclose on heavily-discounted assets from near-bankrupt carriers.
* Carriers may not reach “equilibrium” until 2011.
* Equipment sales will lag the freight recovery and may not reach the peak 2006 levels for a decade or more.
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