How to avoid those scenarios is an unanswered question, Gable said.
“Just try to balance everything out,” she said.
“How can customers pay the prices that our carriers are requesting to run their trucks and their fleet? It’s kind of a fine line to be that middle person trying to balance everything out.”
Some drivers already have stopped operating, said Sid Hooper, agent in the McAllen, Texas, office of Goose Transport.
“A lot of truckers have parked their rigs because they can’t find enough business,” Hooper said.
“Right now, there’s just no pull.”
High unemployment and sagging economic numbers will add pressure to the trucking industry, said Joe Rajkovacz, regulatory affairs specialist with the Grain Valley, Mo.-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
“Until that number (the national unemployment rate) starts changing, I have a tough time seeing how goods movement starts rebounding in a way that the supply and demand equation favors trucking,” he said.
“I certainly realize on the importation side, with containers, etc., that they’ve returned to their pre-2008 levels, but we still have a capacity issue in trucking, more trucks chasing a smaller amount of freight.”
Drivers who remain on the road will have to raise their rates, Rajkovacz added.
“I know they’re projecting fuel to continue to climb, at least through mid-summer, because of the unrest in Egypt. If that happens, they’ll have to seek cost recovery in the supply chain,” he said.
Significant surcharging already is in place, Rajkovacz said.
“I will say that the supply chain has been very adept during the economic downturn of squeezing concessions out of truckers on fuel surcharging,” he said.