And Now Trucking Is Suddenly Slowing Down
This comes at the totally wrong time. Trucking had been booming. 2014 had been a banner year. Capacity was squeezed, and rates were rising, so trucking companies went on a buying binge, ordering everything in the book in preparation for red-hot demand in 2015 and more banner years down the road. But then came 2015.Among businesses, over-ordering and tepid sales caused inventories to rise and the inventory-to-sales ratio to spike to Financial Crisis proportions. And now businesses are trying to bring them down by trimming orders because they’re having trouble selling more to the middle class, the over-indebted modern proletariat whose stagnant incomes are being eaten up by skyrocketing costs of housing, healthcare, college, and the like – and they simply can’t spend that much on shippable items.
And now this is ricocheting through the industry.
Monday after hours, the largest US truckload carrier, Swift, announced earnings. And on Tuesday, it clarified the debacle. It’s suffering from indigestion. The high costs from its red-hot capacity increase – average truck count jumped by 831 trucks in the third quarter from a year earlier – are now slamming into swooning freight demand.