Study Reveals Top Concerns for Trucking Industry's Business Performance in 2007
– Nearly 70 percent of trucking business leaders believe fuel prices are placing business at risk, according to an international survey of 1,200 trucking industry leaders in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and France. The survey, commissioned by GE Capital Solutions, a provider of financing for the commercial trucking industry, also reveals that driver shortages (69 percent) and excessive regulation (40 percent) are top threats to business performance. These concerns are compelling managers (92 percent in the United States, 87 percent in France, 86 percent in Canada, and 80 percent in the United Kingdom) to explore new methods for achieving efficiencies and additional cost savings.
Conversely, low business volumes were among the least of international executives’ concerns, most likely to be seen as a problem in the United Kingdom (12 percent) and least likely to be a problem in the France (6 percent), vs. the U.S. (9 percent) and Canada (8 percent).
Despite a recent decrease in fuel costs, nearly nine in 10 trucking executives believe fuel prices will increase over the next 12 months, and report that fuel costs represent approximately one-third of their overall costs. Despite an urgent need to address the impact of rising fuel prices on business performance, the study reveals only 7 percent are currently using alternative fuels, with the United States leading in this area. Trucking businesses in the United States were also most likely to be receptive to the idea of using alternative fuels (65 percent), while Canadian executives are the least likely (45 percent).
Trucking executives in each country say they will look to offset current and future fuel expenses. In addition to passing costs to shippers, trucking executives are focusing on other options, including:
Tightening supplier management (41 percent overall), (43 percent in the United States).
Seeking alternative green initiatives (36 percent overall), (34 percent in the United States).
Leasing trucks to free cash flow (18 percent overall), (14 percent in the United States).
Trucking industry leaders report that they are struggling to keep up with demand for drivers. A fifth (22 percent) of trucking businesses believe the shortage will impact their ability to deliver goods on time to existing customers and are concerned the shortage will significantly impact their ability to service additional business.
One in four trucking leaders in the United States cite maintenance and insurance costs as the best areas for cost savings followed by salaries and general efficiencies (both eight percent). Also, reducing hefty maintenance fees and improving cash flow are driving decisions to lease versus own their trucks.