Cathy Roberson, Senior Analyst, Transport Intelligence, 404-683-7954
US intermodal operators look set to benefit from the trucking sector’s woes as they come under pressure from rising oil prices and increased regulation, claims US Trucking, Intermodal and Rail 2011 the latest report from Transport Intelligence.
The US transportation industry is bouncing back from a severe freight recession which began two years before the global economic downturn. However, although prospects for the rail and intermodal sector are good, the future is far more uncertain for trucking companies. This is one of the main conclusions of US Trucking, Intermodal and Rail Report 2011, published by global market analysts Transport Intelligence.
The prolonged period of falling and subdued volumes has had a systemic impact on much of the trucking industry, bringing several major players close to collapse and resulting in greatly reduced capacity. Whilst the market environment in which they operate has become more positive, there is still the possibility that rising oil prices will drive many operators in the fragmented sector out of business.
The oil price, smaller fleets, a reduction in the number of trucking companies combined with greater regulation of the sector by the government has had the impact of creating tighter trucking capacity, a shortage of truck drivers and higher rates.
This in turn has benefited the rail intermodal operators who are less exposed to many of these external pressures. This has allowed them to take market share from the trucking sector.
It is not all bad news though. The US and North American economies look strong and retail sales have stimulated imports which has been to the benefit of all sectors. The recovery of the automotive industry is creating increasing demand from Mexico and, to a lesser degree, Canada. The near-shoring trend is also beneficially affecting the sector as some formerly Chinese-based manufacturing shifts closer to US markets as a result of rising labor and transportation costs.
Cathy Roberson, Ti’s Senior US Analyst and author of the report, commented: ‘Although overall the outlook for the industry is good, especially so for rail and intermodal operators, the one major cloud on the horizon is the impact of global oil prices. Soaring costs could potentially strangle the entire sector’s recovery by eventually suppressing demand.’
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About US Trucking, Intermodal and Rail Report 2011 US Trucking, Intermodal and Rail Report 2011 is an in depth analysis of the US transportation sector with specific reference to NAFTA and the Canadian and Mexican markets . It includes discussion of all the latest trends and developments and examines the health of the industry. In addition it contains over 20 profiles of the largest players in the market.
About the author: Before being appointed Ti’s Senior Analyst in North America, Cathy Roberson spent several years at UPS Supply Chain Solutions as a marketing analyst based in Atlanta, Ga. At UPS-SCS, she was responsible for researching and analyzing a wide variety of topics along with competitive intelligence responsibilities. She also has operations experience working directly with customers and assisting with transportation needs.