Stagnant economy tops list of concerns for trucking firms

Oct 14, 2009 | 11:36 AM | Corinna Petry

The economy, in the worst shape since the 1930s, ranks No. 1 among the top 10 concerns of transportation companies, followed closely by the regulatory environment.

Even as the recession ends, the trucking industry's rebound "is still challenged by recalcitrant consumer confidence, high unemployment and a credit crunch," says a summary of the fifth annual survey by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

Despite a shrinking economy for most of the past year, the industry continued to carry around 69 percent of the nation's freight in 2008, according to the ATA report.

Economists hypothesize that, unlike previous recoveries, freight volumes will not lead the way out of this recession because demand for goods has declined much more rapidly than in previous recessions and existing supplies of both raw and manufactured goods remain high, the American Transportation Research Institute said in its analysis of the survey findings. "The overall capacity of the industry remains relatively high, which ensures that extreme competition and downward pricing pressures remain for some time after positive GDP (gross domestic product) growth is realized."....

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