Seventy-nine percent of transportation CFOs expect to hire in the next 12 months, the “most bullish” of all industries, says GE Capital’s sixth market survey of chief financial officers of 500 U.S. middle-market companies.
Also, transportation CFOs are most positive about the current state of their industry, the U.S. economy and the global economy, stated the survey. Eighty-two percent say the U.S. economy will grow or stay the same over the next year, although that’s down 10 points from what trucking executives said in the same survey conducted during the first quarter of this year.
Trucking CFOs saw the largest increase in credit availability across all industries, the latest survey reported, a 35 percent increase and up 12 points from the previous survey.
Sixty-five percent of transportation CFOs had the highest expectations across all industries of increasing cost structure, up five points.
Not surprisingly, given the age of many fleets, transportation CFOs lead all industries considering plans for financing for equipment, 67 percent, although that’s down one point from transportation CFOs interviewed in first-quarter 2012.
CFOs across all business sectors were asked some of the same questions but truck transportation respondents were also specifically asked questions concerning such things as fuel volatility, regulations and perceived business opportunities.
Fifty-eight percent are most concerned about the impact diesel price volatility will have on their businesses, followed by 56 percent who are most concerned about the impact of safety and accidents, the GE Capital survey found.
When it came to the impact of regulations on their business, 52 percent said they were the most concerned about Hours of Service rules, followed by 37 percent who were the most concerned about safety regulations.
They saw the greatest business opportunities this year to be increasing average revenue-per-loaded-mile (68 percent, up nine points), and increasing tonnage volume from existing customers (62 percent, up five points).
Transportation and health care CFOs led all industries (87 percent) regarding concerns about the impact health care will have on their businesses over the next year.
“Slow but positive growth in tonnage and slowly improving operating metrics through the third quarter has truck transportation executives cautiously optimistic about the near term,” said Michael Zimm, CFA Transportation senior research analyst.
“However, given that demand visibility remains poor, fuel prices remain highly volatile and new truck delivery lead times remain short, carriers feel little sense of urgency to add anything more than small increments of capacity ahead of demand. We expect this conservative modus operandi to persist at least until domestic fiscal and political uncertainties are resolved.”
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