The following information was obtained from the December 2016 CCJ MarketPulse Report, a survey of more than 200 senior executives at trucking companies who have agreed to participate monthly. The December 2016 CCJ MarketPulse Report received 81 completed responses from carrier executives.  If you would like to participate in the CCJ MarketPulse survey, please email Jeff Crissey at jcrissey@randallreilly.com.
Optimism continues to grow

Trucking business forecast59.3 percent of the December 2016 CCJ MarketPulse survey respondents believe business conditions will be better over the next six months, up considerably compared to the 41.3 percent of respondents who expected business conditions to improve in the October 2016 survey before the presidential elections. On a month-over-month basis, respondents from fleets with more than 100 power units are far more optimistic, with 61 percent saying business will be better, compared to only 44.6 percent in the November 2016 survey. Overall, 35.8 percent of respondents said December was better than November, compared to 18.5 percent who said it was worse. Compared to the same month last year, 35.8 percent of all respondents said December was better, while 30.9 percent said it was worse.

Buying intentions unchanged

One in three respondents indicated plans to increase fleet size in the next six months, relatively unchanged from 33.8 percent reported in the November 2016 survey. Less than 5 percent plan to decrease fleet size, while 61.8 percent plan to keep fleet size the same by either replacing aging equipment or not making any changes.

Top concerns remain consistent

Driver availability ranks as the biggest worry for 50.7 percent of all survey respondents, up from 44.8 percent in the November 2016 survey. Freight pricing (25.9 percent) and freight volume (17.4 percent) remain the No. 2 and No. 3 concerns overall.

Carrier sentiment holding steady

The Carrier Sentiment Index for December was 5.68, down slightly from the 5.71 reported in the November 2016 survey. The index assesses the month on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the carrier’s worst month and 10 being the best. Respondents from fleets with more than 100 power units were more optimistic (5.85) than those from fleets with up to 100 power units (5.23).