No one can predict the future, and the trucking industry is not immune. We’ve seen some very profitable times and accelerated rates of growth, but two experts weighed in on the future of the industry in October of last year. Here’s what they think 2019 will look like for the trucking industry.
What To Look For
Any industry as large as the trucking industry is directly affected by the general economy of our country, so when you’re speculating about the future of the industry, that’s a good place to start. In the present, fleets are buying and leasing trucks and trailers at record levels, but Vice President of ACT Research Steve Tam says that won’t last forever.
Some positive economic indicators that have led to such a profitable season include consumer and business confidence, rising industrial production and employment rate, stable oil prices, tax cuts and global expansion. During the annual NationaLease meeting in 2018, Tam brought up some economic concerns that we should be on the lookout for. These include traffic and trade tensions, rising inflation and interest rates, and stagnating wages.
What To Expect
For the short-term, Tam is optimistic, but fully expects the rate of growth to slow to the single digits this year. The way he explains it, things are quickly going to go “from great to good,” and that private fleets are expanding to reduce their spot market exposure. Tam also advises not to overlook the growing market of electric vehicles. Without incentives, the payback period for them is long, but states like California are starting to launch rounds of incentives to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles.
At the NationaLease meeting, Transportation Economist and Founder of Transport Futures, Noel Perry, gave a more specific overview of how he expects things to change. “Good times now do not mean good times beyond a year from now,” Perry said. He predicts that things will stay good for six to twelve months, but after that there may be some difficult times—and by difficult times he means the transition from great back to normal.
Watching general economic trends will help you spot changes quickly so you can adapt, and of course trying to operate your business in an efficient, lean manner will help you weather any storm that may be coming.
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