There are many market indicators and government regulations that can affect your business decisions, from truck utilization percentages to new compliance initiatives. Another important topic that’s not always included in industry reports—but can impact the transportation industry just as much—is drivers’ health and wellness. These topics and more are addressed in this month’s update, and we welcome your thoughts on them.
Large Scale Market Indicators
According to FTR’s February Trucking Update, active truck utilization is at nearly 96% for the end of fourth quarter 2015. While it feels like supply is well outpacing demand, today’s freight market is still very balanced. At 95% utilization, the market offers limited elasticity to absorb a collection of mild demand pressures, should they be introduced.
A new sleeper Class 8 truck averages $125,000, according to MacKay and Company. Additionally, an owner can expect to spend another $20,600 each year in maintenance and service costs, bringing expected costs to more than $400,000 for a truck’s 15-year lifespan—and that’s not including fuel.
According to Rolling Strong, a company designed to help drivers stay healthy, the trucking industry lost more than 150,000 drivers because of elevated blood pressure and blood sugar levels since May 2014. As a result, carriers are implementing more health and wellness programs as they recruit drivers.
On January 15, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a rule that would directly link CSA BASIC data to a carrier’s Safety Rating. Comments will be collected for 60 days; however, a final rule is not likely until the end of 2017 at the earliest.
New developments in global trade will play a key role in global supply chains. Between changes with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), along with the introduction of Automated Customs Environment (ACE) to replace ACS, 2016 is the year of new compliance initiatives.