John Sommers II
for Transport Topics
LAS VEGAS – The trucking industry continues to face challenges, from federal regulations and a sluggish economy, to the threat of more tolling on the nation’s highways, said Bill Graves, president of American Trucking Associations.
“I honestly do believe that anyone who is operating in the trucking industry is at a crossroads – in fact you’re facing an entire series of crossroads – each one a decision point sending you in directions that will ultimately determine success or failure, profitability or loss, growth or stagnation,” Graves said Oct. 8 at the opening session of ATA’s Management Conference & Exhibition here.
The nation’s biggest problems are “the sluggish economy, a very dysfunctional federal government and the people of this nation who lack confidence that the economy will get better and that our government as its currently assembled in Washington isn’t capable of getting the job done,” he said.
Graves singled out the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program as a key example of how Washington is threatening trucking’s success.
He said the program will make the highways safer, but needs to be altered to ensure the data provides an accurate picture of carriers’ safety records.
Despite other challenges such as hours-of-service, more tolls and rising fuel prices, he said trucking was still well-positioned for the future.
“The essentiality of the industry and the demand for freight movement by truck – a growing demand for freight movement by truck – is unquestioned,” Graves said. “The long-term macro outlook for trucking has never been better, but the near-term micro view continues to be very challenging.”