Jim Hebe- Truck builders battling worse recession in their history
Jul 1, 2009 12:00 PM
Truck builders battling worst recession in their history
The Obama Administration's massive economic stimulus program has a trillion-dollar price tag that will affect consumer spending in coming years. Consumers will have less disposable income, which will change buying patterns. This will have a dramatic impact on freight levels.
Even without the effects of the stimulus program, the trucking industry is in a state of transition that will have a big impact on future new truck sales. Hebe said he believes longhaul just-in-time freight shipments are becoming a thing of the past.
“More secondary storage is being built all across this country, which reduces demand for longhaul trucking,” he said. “Niche carriers with very focused products and services are carving out a bigger share of the market. The largest truck fleets have hit critical mass and are downsizing by 20% to 25%. These fleets are becoming more selective about cargo and service area.
“The owner-operator sector has been in decline since the 1970s, and the pure independent owner-operator is gone. The only successful owner-operators today are those working under contract with trucking companies.”
Credit availability is one reason for the owner-operator decline, and lack of credit also is hurting trucking companies and truck manufacturers. “Less money is available to finance truck purchases,” Hebe said.
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