Is the Ailing Trucking Industry Finally Heading for Recovery?


Will the trucking industry finally be resurrected from the recent economic turmoil and will they finally see the light? The trucking industry hasn't yet rebounded and returned to its full glory, yet there are already signs that this ailing industry is hopefully heading towards the road to recovery.

Kirsten Valle reported in the CharlotteObserver.Com that the Atlantic Trucking Co.'s phone can't stop ringing lately, and one can see a cardboard sign outside Atlantic's office with the word "RECRUITING" in bold block letters. No matter how miniscule the sign may be, it simply declares that better times for trucking business is just somewhere down the road.

The report in CharlotteObserver.Com says: Atlantic Trucking Co.'s terminal manager, Lee Montgomery, said he's looking for about five new drivers and is advertising through newspaper classifieds, word of mouth and cardboard signs like the one outside their office. He's even offering a signing bonus to lure qualified workers, noting that every trucking company he talks to is also on the lookout.

According to T.G. Stegall Trucking Co.'s Vice President, Gene Stegall, their trucking company remained relatively steady through the recession, and felt the pickup in sales in January. Stegall said that part of the increase came from the smaller companies that unfortunately closed during the recession. Stegall Trucking is said to be snapping up orders recently, from shippers who never used their services before.

There are reports about pickup in business from trucking companies not only in Charlotte, but around the nation as well. And this result in hiring as firms boost up its inventories and consumers begin purchasing again. Economists together with the trucking officials agrees that the industry is a leading indicator – simply put, more jobs could be at hand for the rest of the economy.

Kirsten Valle included in her report that the transportation sector has grown in recent months, a sharp contrast to many other fields. She reported that the transportation and warehousing companies added 15,000 jobs nationwide in June, about 18 percent of the total private-sector gains - according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the Federal Reserve's report in its latest beige book, an account of the condition of the economy, that manufacturing and transportation activity continued to improve in June, with most Fed districts accounting for increases in factory production, shipments, and new orders.

In May, the American Trucking Association released its U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast. The study found that total freight tonnage will grow 25 percent and total freight transportation revenue will grow almost 70 percent - though it said that the nation's freight pool contracted by more than 12 percent in 2009. It also found that freight transportation is poised to grow through 2021.

The pickup extends to truck manufacturers, too: Daimler Trucks North America says that there is a strong order activity this year which caused a sharp rise in daily build rates. In response to this, Daimler Trucks North America would call back about 540 workers to three Freightliner manufacturing facilities in the Charlotte region.

The 2009 recession is a tough wall to break. Hopefully, the good signs showing lately would give the trucking industry power to smash through the thick walls of challenges the recession has laid along the road and head to the industry's highway to full recovery.