This recession hits tank fleets hardest
May 13, 2009 8:03 AM
In what is clearly the worst US economy in decades, tank fleets have been the hardest hit sector of the trucking industry, according to Bob Costello, chief economist of the American Trucking Associations.
ATA data showed that tank truck activity had fallen by at least 27 percent through March 2009, Costello said during a May 10 presentation at the 61st annual conference of the National Tank Truck Carriers in San Diego CA. Tank fleets have been hurt by the recessionís impact on the consumer sector, which accounts for two-thirds of gross domestic product, and on the industrial sector. Industrial production fell by 15.6 percent through the first quarter of 2009, and it is still dropping. Inventories remain bloated for many products that are shipped in bulk.
However, tank fleets should perform better than the rest of the trucking industry as the US economy recovers over the next couple of years, Costello said. He predicted that tank truck capacity would tighten quickly as the recovery begins.
"When it gets good, it will be real good for the tank truck industry," he said. "Pent up demand should be a driving factor for the economy by 2011, and tank fleets will benefit from that. Iím cautiously optimistic that the US economy is moving in the right direction at this point."
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