Trucking firms struggle with “freight recession”

California trucking company shuts down, files for bankruptcy - FreightWaves


When Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt trucking company recently announced a drop in first-quarter earnings blaming a “freight recession,” it spurred the Wall Street Journal to examine the issue.

What it found was that falling diesel prices are among signals that indeed, a “freight recession” is underway across the nation.

Even the American Trucking Association said smaller trucking companies, those with fleets of between 200 and 300 truckers, are failing at the rate of one a week.

That is an astounding figure because if anything, it means fewer trucks hauling goods and freight across the nation, are on America’s interstates and highways. In turn, that means more delays in the delivery of those goods, which results in higher prices for consumers.

The Wall Street Journal found that benchmark diesel futures are down about 25% this year. It also reported that global trade and manufacturing production was down 5.4% between September and January.

In some cases, stores and warehouses are still overstocked as container imports fell 23% in the first three months of this year. What does it mean? Fewer trips by 18-wheelers hauling goods across the country.