As the transportation industry entered 2011, the conversation about U.S. truckload services centered on concerns regarding long-term capacity constraints, in part due to anticipated regulatory changes. As we enter 2012, the tone of the conversation is similar and more linked to overall economic uncertainty and other supply chain variables.
In addition to the concerns regarding driver shortages, potential changes to hours of service and the eventual CSA rules that will link BASIC-reported data to a carrier’s safety rating have the industry guessing on the impact to carrier capacity. Although the truckload market was marked by balance in 2011, these changes have the potential to swing the pendulum and alter not only capacity but pricing dynamics. Shippers and providers are doing their best to understand potential impacts and plan accordingly.
On top of possible regulatory changes, the health of the global economy weighs on the minds of our industry for all transportation and logistics services. Global competition and supply chains require a greater awareness of worldwide issues and how they could affect a company’s business, let alone their supply chain.
Regulation and the economy aren’t the only issues a company will face in 2012, but their complexity and the volatility they can create demands additional attention. As companies get back on their feet following the recession, and especially in an environment of economic uncertainty and regulatory scrutiny, it has become more important that they anticipate the future issues that may be approaching and be better prepared to respond to new and emerging challenges.