A new report predicts that 2015 will be the United States freight industry’s best year since 2007. Should the prediction prove accurate, it could bode very well for carriers but not quite so well for others.
The report, which is now available through auditing company Cass Information Systems, comes from industry expert Rosayln Wilson. Wilson, who writes the annual “State of Logistics Report,” predicts that both volumes and carrier revenues will “grow steadily” this year, giving many commercial transportation firms bigger profit margins than they’ve seen in nearly a decade.
But not everyone in the transportation business will be pleased with Wilson’s report. She also predicts that shippers will encounter steady rate increases, thereby paring back their revenues and shrinking profit margins. Wilson adds that, during 2015’s peak shipping periods, truck space may shrink considerably. That could mean shippers will be forced to pay extra for guaranteed capacity.
Still, the news is generally good for those in the trucking industry. Wilson says she expects the transportation industry to re-invest in improving the efficiency of its operations; eventually, these changes should allow the industry to adapt to changing situations “more rapidly than we have seen in a decade.”
Helping improve profit margins in 2015 will be lower fuel prices. Although the price of diesel has not dropped as visibly as the price of gasoline, the general decline in fuel costs should help keep expenditures down in 2015. This was certainly the case in December 2014, when overall freight expenses experienced a clear and dramatically dip.
Still, there’s room for improvement. Wilson says that, even with the rapid drop in fuel prices, December saw expenditures hit their highest year-end levels in seven years.
Overall, it’s clear 2015 will be an interesting year. Will carrier revenues continue to grow, as Wilson predicts? Will shippers struggle to get their goods to market? And will fuel prices continue to decline, saving trucking companies thousands or even millions of dollars?