Ontario Truckers Positive, But Pessimism Growing: Part 1


Part 1 of 2

According to the Ontario Trucking Association’s (OTA) second quarter 2012 business expectations survey, most of their members are optimistic about their prospects for the next three months, despite an “unenthusiastic view of prospects for southbound freight to the U.S.”

That positivity, OTA said, is due to tight control over capacity.

General Outlook

Sixty-seven percent of carriers reported being optimistic about trucking’s overall prospects for the quarter – a number that hasn’t changed sine OTA’s 1Q12 survey.

Freight Volumes

Freight volumes are pinpointing to an economic slowdown in Ontario and a slow-moving U.S. economy, OTA reported.


Only a quarter of respondents reported improvement in intra-Ontario freight volumes compared to the last quarter and this was virtually the same as reported in the 1Q12 survey. Pessimism for the immediate future grew with only 30 percent of carriers expecting increases in the latter half of 2012 versus 39 percent who were upbeat in the last survey.


Thank the western provinces for this: OTA members reported a higher degree of certainty for inter-provincial freight, OTA said, most likely due to rebounding markets in the west. Thirty-four percent of carriers reported improving volumes, a 13 percent improvement over 1Q12, and 59 percent are expecting improvements over the next six months – up from 40 percent.

US Southbound:

Looking south is still darkening carriers moods, OTA said, as the survey points to a regression in US-bound business. Survey respondents who said volumes had increased since the first quarter mirrored the 1Q12 survey at a meager 14 percent, while the majority said things were unchanged. Carriers who reported decreased volumes rose from 21 percent to 28 percent. That, the OTA said, is the first increase in pessimisim in a year, and the second highest percentage of carriers reporting a drop in volumes since 3Q09.

While 65 percent of carriers aren’t expecting instability over the next six months, there was a slight drop in the percentage of carriers who expect increases at 23 percent – the lowest rate since 1Q09 – and a small increase in projected declines, from 7 percent to 12 percent.

US Northbound:

Northbound freight is looking good, with 48 percent of carriers reporting increased volumes versus 30 and 35 percent over the last two quarters. Expectations for the rest of 2012 also improved. Of course, this is provided you have a truck in the states to pick it up or the shipper is prepared to pay you to go empty to the US, said the OTA.

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