For many months, transportation executives and analysts have warned that ongoing reductions in transportation capacity would lead to equipment shortages and rising rates once demand picks up. If the results of a second-quarter survey of transportation intermediaries are any indication, that time may be approaching.
The study, conducted by the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) among 42 member companies, asked respondents about the equipment availability outlook for the next three months. Forty-six percent of the respondents said shortages of refrigerated equipment were possible within the next 90 days, while 20 to 30 percent said shortages of flatbed, dry van, and/or container capacity were a possibility in that time period. The percentages were higher than expected, TIA said. The survey made no mention of whether respondents were experiencing or predicting price increases as a result of expected shortages.
C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., one of the most influential intermediaries, is unaware of any shortages at this time, according to company spokeswoman Tracie Stoltenburg. "We have heard people talking about the possibility of equipment shortages, though at the moment we haven't experienced any to speak of," she says.
The survey also found that total dollars billed by the participants during the second quarter rose by 7 percent over first-quarter figures. In addition, 60 percent of the participants who responded to a question about future expectations said their outlook was positive and that they expected to see more business from their core customers soon.