Fuel costs, economy top list of industry concerns
The cost of fuel and the nation’s economy top the list of The American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) top-10 critical issues facing the U.S. trucking industry.
The results of ATRI’s survey of more than 5,000 trucking industry executives were released at the 2008 Management Conference and Exhibition of the American Trucking Associations. ATRI also solicited and tabulated strategies for addressing each issue.
Aside from fuel costs and the economy, other “top-10” issues include the driver shortage and retention, government regulation, commercial driver hours-of-service, congestion and tolls and highway funding, among others.
The ATA-commissioned survey results and proposed strategies will be utilized by the ATA to better focus its advocacy role on behalf of the U.S. trucking industry and ATA Federation stakeholders.
“The annual ATRI survey proves invaluable in helping us chart a course of action for the future,” said incoming ATA Chairman Charles “Shorty” Whittington (Grammer Industries, Grammer, IN), “and as ATA chairman I will work to see that the industry-identified strategies are implemented.”
“On every legislative and regulatory topic, issues come and go so quickly to-day,” added Bill Graves, ATA president and CEO. “If we’re not at the table with
sound, science-based information and a common sense plan of action, then we’re going to get left behind and saddled with solutions that have no bearing on moving America’s freight safely and efficiently.”
It’s no surprise that fuel prices and the economy take the top two spots. Diesel prices reached unprecedented levels this year, with fuel costs replacing labor costs as the top operating expense for most carriers.
Now in its fourth year, the survey re-corded the economy as the second greatest concern, the first time the economy appeared on the top-10 list of critical issues. The ailing economy has felt the effects of inflationary pressures, declines in consumer optimism, decreased manufacturing output, the mortgage crisis and the credit crunch.
Driver shortage/retention ranked third this year, with many in the industry recognizing that this issue is on temporary hiatus and will resume once the economy rebounds.
A copy of the survey results is available from ATRI at www.atri-online.org.