Overcapacity Overshadows Fuel and Drivers

May 13, 2009
The ongoing economic crisis and overcapacity in the trucking industry overshadow driver and fuel issues, according to ALK Technologies Transportation Summit.

The ongoing economic crisis, serious overcapacity, and the sometimes brutal competition among transportation providers drove the presentations and many private conversations at the annual ALK Transportation Technology Summit says sponsor ALK Technologies (http://www.alk.com ).

At its fifth annual Transportation Technology Summit, ALK Technologies founder and Princeton University professor, Dr. Alain Kornhauser challenged attendees to confront economic and competitive issues with increased efficiency and technological innovation. "The challenge is real-time management of mobile assets," he told the gathering.

"Demand is down in all sectors. The truckload industry has seen the steepest six-month drop in tonnage ever," said John White, president of U.S. Xpress, Inc. "I don't think we've seen the bottom yet." The president of the Chattanooga, TN-based truckload carrier remained optimistic, commenting, “We will power through this.”

Dave Ward, partner, ThoughtDrivers, and former CEO of Ward Trucking, stressed the importance of equipment utilization to profitability. Unused space on trucks is the trucking business equivalent of inventory, he said. But filling trucks and bringing down per-truck operating costs isn't easy. "Moving freight from point A to point B is like playing checkers," Ward said. "Making money at it is more like chess." Ward told the conference he expects the economy will begin to revive in 12 to 18 months.

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