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            october 21, 2019

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ATA economist says truck freight growing, but driver shortage looms


US Freight volumes in the trucking industry continue to rise, but a driver shortage could hold back industry growth, says American Trucking Associations (ATA) chief economist Bob Costello.
Speaking to the annual ATA Management Conference & Exhibition, he said: "Freight volumes are growing nicely on a year-over-year basis for most trucking sectors as economic growth remains solid."
But he also said the driver shortage was "as bad as ever and expected to get worse in the near term" as freight volumes continue to grow.
Driver turnover - often a proxy for tracking the driver shortage - rose 11 percentage points to an annualised rate of 103 per cent in the second quarter, its highest since the third quarter of 2012.
Turnover at small truckload fleets - fleets with less than US$30 million revenue - surged 16 points to 94 per cent, again the highest since the third quarter of 2012, according to Shipping Gazette.
"These turnover rates show that the shortage is acute," Mr Costello said, "and if the freight economy continues to grow, it will worsen very quickly."

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