In my time with Priority1 I have seen numerous changes in what is happening within the full truckload market. In the late 2000’s with the hope of coming out of a recession we did not see an uptick in truckload shippers but remained steady while everyone waited to see what was going to happen. So far in the 2010’s it has been a mix of increased shipments, rising fuel prices and capacity shortages due to a lack of drivers.
We are continuing to see some capacity issues but fuel has backed down from its peak. As the “baby boomer” generation is approaching retirement age, it has been a struggle in the transportation industry to replace the aging driver workforce. Truckload demand remains consistent, but the driver supply is weak. As a result, rates per mile have remained consistent with reduced fuel prices.
As the industry works through the challenges of driver shortages there is a silver lining: In the past few months we have seen overall transportation capacity loosen up and rates dip slightly. In April 2015 we saw the national average of loads-to-truck ratio fall from 3.5 to 2.6 according to DAT 360.
As the truckload market stabilizes in 2015, one of the things that I have noticed is shippers are now more than ever open to shipping their full truckload shipments on rail; especially on long hauls. Rail continues to grow and is benefiting from the driver shortages as it offers an economical alternative to traditional over the road shipments. It is expected to continue to see a rise in rail shipments throughout the year and as we move into the near future.
The transportation industry continues to move through the changing economy and labor shortages within the industry. Today, it is as important as ever to be able to adapt to the rapid transportation changes. With 20 years in the industry, Priority1 has proven that it has the ability to see the transportation challenges coming and then adapt and meet all of our customer’s needs.
Jason Sheffler, Director of Truckload Operations