The Road Ahead for Truckload Carriers

Takeaways from TCA convention and advice in uncertain times.

Sheri Aaberg, our chief operating officer, attended the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) annual convention in March as she had done for many years. Carriers of every size were represented, including dry van, refrigerated, flatbed, tanker and intermodal container carriers. So were their vendors. The 2023 event was well attended. In fact, organizers made an announcement while registration was still underway that they were only 50 participants shy of the record.

It was great seeing everyone there. As a provider of commercial truck and trailer equipment leases and remarketing, so much of the value of this event for us is learning from, and sharing our knowledge with, the carriers and equipment manufacturers who attend.

“It’s always interesting to see what the general mood is … what questions people are asking and what information they are seeking,” Sheri said.

One topic of discussion at the 2023 convention was the freight market due to some declines that have been reported since mid-2022.  Attendees also were focused on where the economy and interest rates are headed. Other topics that were top of mind included the supply chain, equipment and contract pricing expectations coming through an inflationary period, and CARB or EPA requirements for 2025 models.

Regarding supply-chain issues, TEL’s discussions were positive with a number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that attended. OEMs said supply-chain disruptions have eased from 2022 levels and, while problems still pop up, these issues are not as extensive as last year.

Concerning the overall economy, attendees expressed wide-ranging opinions throughout the convention, Sheri observed, from “doom and gloom” to ‘it’s not that bad.”

Economists also have varying forecasts. However, the TCA convention keynote speaker was firm in predicting a downturn ahead. Charles Payne, host of FOX Business Network’s Making Money with Charles Payne, told attendees he believes there will be a solid recession starting later in 2023 that will last as long as a year, Sheri said.

“It was a pleasure listening to him as he was a good presenter, but this was not what attendees were hoping to hear,” she added.

Even after the keynote address, Sheri noted competing views among attendees on the depth and length of any downturn along with opinions that no downturn was also possible.

When we sat down with Sheri the week after the convention, news of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse in California was breaking. It was another reminder that uncertainties are part of doing business.

How can carriers prepare for uncertainties now and in the months ahead? Keep informed, consider contingency plans and potential opportunities, but don’t let the chatter distract you.

Sheri-Aaberg_COO-TEL-300x300“Keep your ears to the ground. Stay disciplined in your business and do what you do best. It’s not a time to go knee-jerk on anything,” Sheri advised.

Wherever the road leads, you can always count on TEL to respond to your needs. We have nearly 20 years’ experience providing best-value trucks and trailers from leading brands, financing solutions, sustainable pricing and reduced maintenance exposure for customers. Explore our website to learn more about fleet leasing, equipment sales and lease purchase options, and give us a call.

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