WINDSOR, Colo. — The trucking industry saw a slowdown in freight over the fourth quarter of 2015, Transport Capital Partners reported Thursday, leading to expectations that increases in driver wages will be limited in the year ahead as volume expectations were lowered for 2016.
A substantial majority, 70 percent of carriers surveyed, expect wage increases of only 1 percent to 5 percent.
Moreover, 22 percent of carriers expect to see no increases at all.
These expectations are similar to TCP survey results from fourth-quarter 2010 and fourth-quarter 2012, but notably more conservative than the past couple of years.
“Carriers are in a tactical seasonal strategy — the first quarter being weak in loads, more drivers being available from construction in northern climates, and deep cutbacks in truck purchases over the last couple of months,” said Richard Mikes, a TCP partner. “The longer term struggle between business caution and the need to improve driver staffing via driver wage levels will be interesting to watch in 2016."
Given the poor economic results from the last quarter of 2015, it’s not surprising that growth increase expectations for 2016 are at their lowest levels since the fourth quarter of 2012, according to TCP Partner Steven Dutro.
“This survey found that only one-third of carriers are expecting volume increases in 2016. At this point last year, that number was almost twice as high. Furthermore, half of all survey respondents are looking toward a flat year ahead. This is the highest percentage of carriers expecting volumes to 'remain the same' in the history of this survey,” he said.
However, this survey’s lowered expectations do carry some optimism for the year ahead.
A third of carriers are still expecting increases in freight volumes, with only one sixth expecting decreases.
“While volume and rate expectations have tumbled, there is still no fear of a looming recession in these results,” Dutro said.
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