TORONTO— Ontario’s truckers are reporting stronger freight and rate counts and are more optimistic than they’ve been in years.
In Ontario Trucking Association’s (OTA) second-quarter 2014 survey of business conditions, carriers showed across-the-board improvements and also said that rates are keeping pace with volume increases.
Although this time of year is usually slow for trucking, the OTA found:
- 65 percent of carriers said southbound freight volumes improved in the previous three months – the highest percentage ever recorded since OTA started the survey in 2008;
- 59 percent more carriers said that intra-provincial volumes jumped;
- 62 percent of carriers saw a surge in U.S. northbound lanes (highest since 2011);
- 41 percent said inter-Ontario freight has increased.
Looking ahead at the next six months, more carriers see growth:
- 63 percent of carriers expect volumes within provincial lanes to go up;
- 77 percent expect inter-provincial volumes to keep climbing;
- 73 percent expect growth Southbound.
- 62 percent of carriers said U.S. southbound rates have skyrocketed;
- 31 percent said rates have improved in all other lanes;
- 47 percent said rates improved intra-provincially;
- 41 percent said northbound U.S. rates have gone up.
- 58 percent of carriers said capacity is shrinking;
- 22 reported flat capacity;
- 58 percent said they want to add more drivers and owner-ops;
- 46 percent expect capacity to tighten more in the future;
- 80 percent said contract timeframes are not changing.
Driver wages are going up as the competition between carriers to retain drivers heats up.
- 90 percent of carriers said wages for both drivers and owner-ops have gone up – most by two to four percent;
- About half of carriers said wages for owner-ops were up by five percent and a quarter of carriers said driver rates were up by five percent;
- Only 12 percent reported fuel hikes of 15 percent or more, but three in four carriers reported overall fuel price increases in the five-to-10 percent range.
Carriers say their top concerns are:
- 14 percent are worried about the economy;
- 63 percent are worried about the driver shortage;
- 22 percent are worried about capacity and rates.
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