Reporting on the annual meeting and individual meetings it held with carriers, Stifel Nicoalus offered a view of the market and the issues as discussed. Topping most lists is the trend in volumes which has continued to be down. At the event March 9th and 10th, indications were that truckload volumes were down 3% so far in 2009 and 20% when compared to the same time last year. From a commodity standpoint, it appears consumer non-durables, disposable paper products and food and beverage are faring better.
Pricing was competitive in recent months and seems to be even more so into 2009. On the fuel surcharge issue, where the common belief is that carriers benefit from the timing lag between the level of a fuel surcharge and the lower fuel price when fuel drops, appears to be wrong.
"The Obama Administration's agenda is a large concern for many carriers and was a frequent topic of discussion amongst the carriers and other conference attendees," said the Stifel Nicolaus report.