December 2012 trucking conditions
December business conditions deteriorated compared to November with about 53% reporting that conditions were the same but nearly 31% saying conditions were worse, according to the latest Randall-Reilly MarketPulse survey of trucking conditions. The Carrier Sentiment Index dropped to 5.75 in December from 6.22 in November. About 44% of carriers expect business conditions will be better in six months, adjusting for seasonality. Nearly 46% believe conditions will be the same. Smaller carriers are more optimistic than larger ones. More than half of all executives – 57% – plan to replace aging equipment without changing fleet size over the next six months. About 27% plan to growth their fleets.
Driver availability remains the No. 1 concern with 37% of trucking executives selecting it as their top worry. Concerns about freight volume, freight pricing and the political climate in Washington also registered double-digit percentages. About half of the survey completions occurred before Congress and the White House struck a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, so that likely increased the percentage who identified the political climate in Washington as the top worry.
The December MarketPulse survey also included questions related to how carriers use data from FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program in managing drivers. The vast majority of carriers analyze the CSA-related performance of current and/or prospective drivers, and 80% of carriers analyze the CSA-related performance of both current and prospective drivers. he most common use of drivers’ CSA-related performance is in weeding out undesirable job applicants. Most carriers share drivers’ CSA-related information with them primarily in one-on-one meetings. More than 36% of all carriers reported that 100% of drivers use electronic logs, but nearly twice as many larger carriers than smaller carriers said that all drivers use them.