There are two major changes that if they occur this year would be a good thing for us in future years. First, I believe the price of diesel and gasoline will stabilize, and will be less subject to the ups and downs we’ve seen in the past. This will occur because more supplies will be available from U.S. sources, and as a result, the price of diesel and gasoline will be less subject to other locations and influences. This stability will allow better planning for businesses large and small, and allow them to focus more on events they can control. It also will help to stabilize pricing within the transportation industry, something that has endured tremendous instability in the past few years.
The second item that will impact the transportation industry is the amount of funds spent on infrastructure. There will be a tremendous influx of construction in 2013 — affecting numerous roads and highways and making long-range transcontinental trucking more expensive as well as questionable to use when attempting to meet ironclad deadlines in 2013. Because of this construction, I believe the railroads will have record years, with volumes never before seen, and as a result, some delays and backlogs within our rail systems. I also believe air freight will see a slight increase as a side effect.
If both trends emerge, the trucking industry likely will see pricing soften and rates decline slightly in 2013.