Although gas prices remain high across the nation and have only recently begun to dip in some areas, truckers found the roads to be a bit more accommodating in April, after a recent survey demonstrated the growing optimism of the industry. The rising tide of trucking sentiment may also mean many who are forecasting better business will look to equipment leasing to shore up equipment assets.
The Randall-Reilly MarketPulse survey of trucking executives for smaller carriers found 32 percent of respondents thought business conditions improved between April and March. Forty-eight percent thought they stayed the same and 20 percent reported a worsening of conditions.
Fifty-five percent of carriers said they expect business conditions to improve during the next six months. That optimism led 44 percent to report they plan to replace aging equipment in the coming six months and 37 percent to focus on growing their fleet.
However, driver availability, a problem for 54 percent of respondents, remains the most common obstacle to growth initiatives.
One respondent to the survey said while first quarter business was “much better than expected” and April performance was strong, the firm is still “uncertain and cautious” about moving forward.
American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello was even more encouraged.
“All in all, I am very excited about our economic prospects going forward,” Costello said at a recent conference, according to Commercial Carrier Journal. “I just think we’re going to have a wait just a little bit longer before this economic recovery finally takes off. We’ll see slow, choppy growth for a while longer. But there is a lot of potential out there – and a lot of cash still on the sidelines and not yet in play.”
As the general business climate of the trucking industry continues to improve, smaller carriers with equipment revitalization plans can look to National Funding for equipment leasing options that can help preserve cash flow and allow for easy upgrades down the line.