Survey: Trucking conditions improve slightly in January
January business conditions appeared slightly better overall than those in December with more than 39% saying conditions were better and only about 17% reporting that business was worse, according to the latest Randall-Reilly MarketPulse survey of trucking conditions. The Carrier Sentiment Index improved slightly to 5.85 in January from 5.75 in December.
About 56% of carriers expect business conditions to be better in and another 38% believe conditions will be about the same in six months, adjusting for seasonality. Half plan to replace aging equipment without changing fleet size over the next six months, and 31% plan to growth their fleets. Larger carriers are more inclined to replace or add trucks than smaller carriers are.
About 42% of both larger and smaller carriers said driver availability remains their top concern. Larger carriers were more concerned with freight volume than smaller carriers, while smaller carriers were relatively more worried about the cost of equipment and the political climate in Washington.
As in the December survey, the January MarketPulse survey included questions related to FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. Nearly 60% believe CSA is an improvement over the previous approach, but 20% believe it’s a step backwards and more than 5% believe it’s a complete disaster. The most frequently cited complaints with CSA are, in order: Crash fault and/or preventability not considered in Crash Indicator; disparity in inspection priorities among states; and lack of correlation between BASICS scores and crash risk.