The American Trucking Associate Management Conference is now over, and the Calhoun Truck Lines team is back home and back to work. We met great new contacts, partners, suppliers, regulatory contacts and others. We saw new truck makes and models on the show floor, as well as a slew of other tools for truckers.
The panels on the state of the trucking industry economy were probably the best attended I’ve seen. The welfare of our industry is closely tied to the growth of the economy, job certainty and other economic indicators. No wonder the hall was packed.
The panelists suggested strongly that Congress really has to start working together to reinvigorate the economy and help keep trucking moving along on in 2013. Fears of the fiscal cliff becoming real are growing.
Even if the fiscal cliff is averted, uncertainty will be a factor in dampening growth, said one of the panelists, Gregory Daco, senior economist at IHS Global Insight, who predicted that GDP growth next year will be slightly less than two percent. Other financial analysts are hoping that results of the presidential elections will start to shift a turn for the better in 2013.
Commercial Carrier Journal also reported on ATA chief economist Bob Costello’s talk. Costello told the crowd that capacity and demand would remain fairly level because of driver shortages and high replacement costs for new equipment. In other words, truckers are not likely to be investing in new equipment until the economy improves. However, truckers need to be alert to any positive economic news in order to not get caught short being unable to manage any freight increases.
A representative from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation also gave an overview on trucking safety and highway investment. TT News wrote that a new national freight strategic plan is required in three years, and that the plan will be developed with states and private transportation stakeholders.
The conference came to a winning conclusion with a dinner and entertainment for the attendees on Wednesday night and entertainment provided by classic rockers The Doobie Brothers. it was a fun event for many in attendance.
Industry managers are now back at their home base and likely looking to start pushing forward with ideas, plans and strategies to lift their respective freight businesses. Calhoun Truck Lines is especially interested in growing demand for freight within the Midwest operations. Let’s hope Congress can start to work productively in 2013 to help all of us on our way.