Bullish Trends for OTR Transportation in 2015

2015 is shaping up to be a great year for the transportation industry, and in particular, over the road trucking concerns.  Rarely has this blogger seen more positive headlines competing for column inches across the front pages of various transportation industry news organs.  Yet, as the recycling truck picks up the last of the champagne bottles and the curbsides still bear more than a few discarded Christmas trees, the following stories are gracing the pages of outlets like Transport Topics, Inbound Logistics, SupplyChainBrain and others.

“HOS Restart Change is Law”
Chronicling the recent legislative wrangling which has succeeded in producing a moratorium on the FMCSA’s reviled restart rules which were decried as onerous and damaging to productivity by the trucking industry.  The restart rule has been suspended while its value and real-world impact is being reconsidered by regulators.  New recommendations for this piece of the Hours of Service regs are expected to be issued before the moratorium is lifted at the end of September.

“Diesel Average Drops 11.6¢ to Lowest Since Jan. 2011”
Almost half of the 60 cent drop we’re seeing has occurred in the past two months according to the Department of Energy.    Coupled with strong upticks in the number of new trucks being purchased by carriers, this windfall is putting smiles on the faces of owners.  One such owner operator calculated that the fuel savings in addition to the improved fuel efficiency of his new rig is making the payments on the new truck.  Factor in the bump in consumer demand produced by the increase in discretionary funds for American families, and there’s reason to believe freight volumes will continue their recent increases as well.

“FMCSA Working to Finalize 2015 Rate for Fleets to Drug Test Truck Drivers”
For the many shippers leveraging private fleets to offset capacity issues, the good news was welcomed that the Feds are close to establishing more lenient – and therefore less onerous – random drug testing requirements.  In short, the new rules being considered would drop the rate from 50% of all drivers tested per year to 25% of all drivers.  Of course, this threshold would only be applied to those fleet operators whose positive test rates remained below 1% for the year.  That said, the time and expense saved by the new rules will make it more cost effective to operate a fleet.

Other bullish headlines from the first few weeks of 2015:

“Truck Tonnage Index Hits Record after 4.4% Increase in November”
“Trucking Stocks Post Gains; Likely to Increase into 2015”
“Truck Sales Rise 15.1%”
“Shift in Freight Demand Strains Shippers, Fleets”
“Trucking Fleets Announce Pay Increases”

What bullish signs have you seen recently with respect to the OTR trucking portion of the supply chain?

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