Analyst Insight: The U.S. trucking industry is experiencing unprecedented change that is spurring consolidation in the fragmented market. For shippers, the upheaval can be both good and bad news. Acquisitions can offer shippers the opportunity to expand operations to new areas without the need to change carriers. Conversely, consolidation reduces competition in the marketplace and may have a negative impact on rates or service levels. Throughout this shakeout, shippers will need to determine how the market adjustments will fit into their strategic growth plans. - Brian Broadhurst, Vice President of Transportation Solutions, Spend Management Experts
With the national average diesel price falling below $2 per gallon, truckload rates on the spot market continued on a downward trend. Freight brokers usually quote a one-time price that includes both a line-haul portion and the fuel surcharge; declining fuel prices influence spot market rates significantly.
Despite network congestion and macro-economic headwinds, intermodal achieved solid growth in 2015, according to the Intermodal Association of North America's fourth quarter and year-end Intermodal Market Trends and Statistics report. Domestic container gains more than offset declines in trailer volumes and marginal international increases to achieve overall 2.8 percent growth in total intermodal volumes.
The total cost of ground transportation for Canadian shippers decreased by 3.4 percent in November when compared with October results, according to results published by the Canadian General Freight Index.
Although orders were slower in December, 2015 was the trailer industry's best shipment year in history, just edging out the previous record set in 1999, according to the most recent State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers published by ACT Research Co.
After spiking to start the year, load-to-truck ratios and truckload rates on the spot market slid downward during the week ending Jan. 16, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.
The new year is here, and bringing some important changes for the freight industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been preparing to do away with various different registration numbers, in favor of a more simplified Unified Registration System (URS). The first stage of its implementation already began in December, and the second one is to be rolled out later this year.
The British International Freight Association (BIFA), the trade association for UK freight forwarders, says that 2016 will see its members continuing to face numerous challenges, with some the result of legislative changes and government policy, rather than economic issues.