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FTR Freight Transportation Conference offers subdued outlook

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Despite reports that the Canadian economy is bouncing back quicker than expected, i...

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.


Highlights included:


* 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.


To be invited to next year’s conference, contact at FTR.

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