The transportation strategic advisory firm CarrierDirect has released its semi-annual report on domestic freight market trends and perspective
, with the firm predicting increased carrier pricing power.
“CarrierDirect is seeing strong signs of life in the freight industry following a difficult start to the year due to the Polar Vortex,” the firm said. “Strong freight levels in Q2 have challenged many trucking companies to develop new plans to cope with increased demand for their services. Meanwhile, the pool of qualified drivers has fallen short of demand, and the effects from last year’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) changes have created new hurdles to overcome.”
CarrierDirect expects trucking companies to seize the opportunity to invest in new technology and pricing changes.
“We’re standing on the edge of a sweeping reform in technology that will allow carriers to operate more efficiently — particularly in [less-than-truckload] — and price their services according to those they provide,” said Joel Clum, president of CarrierDirect. “The shippers and 3PLs that aren’t equipped to do business in that environment or aren’t ‘carrier-friendly’ will face a challenging road ahead.”
Clum said carriers are now more able to choose the customers with which they do business.
“Despite the challenges, we’re really seeing the pendulum swing back into favor of the carrier,” Clum said. “Carriers are now in a place where they are choosing the shippers and 3PLs they want to do business with based on factors that go outside just the amount of freight they offer, looking more toward profitability and how little stress the customer puts on their operations, people and drivers.”
CarrierDirect said some other trends it expects to play out include:
Web services-enabled dynamic pricing in the less-than-truckload sector that will allow transport companies like Con-way Freight, UPS Freight, FedEx Freight and others to charge more appropriately for their services based on space taken up by shipments and the needs of their networks.
Privately held logistics companies like Coyote, FreightQuote and Worldwide Express continuing to set the tone for best practices in the freight brokerage industry.
Asset-based trucking companies such as Swift Transportation, Werner and Estes-Express Lines laying the foundation to become leading third-party logistics providers alongside their asset-based divisions.
The emergence of new tech-focused entrants to the domestic freight marketplace who are keen to solve data-intensive problems in the antiquated trucking industry.
Carriers better utilizing third-party logistics companies who resell less-than-truckload services, such as an Echo Global Logistics, as a complement to their salesforce rather than as a competitor.