Inbound Logistics | September 2022

Inbound Logistics ’ exclusive yearly survey of motor carriers and shippers offers a close look at the state of the trucking industry in an era of inflation and supply chain volatility. 2022 TRUCKING PERSPECTIVES BY MERRILL DOUGLAS

In 2022, as shippers and their trucker partners have settled into what might or might not become the “new normal,” some are breathing a bit easier than last year. COVID precautions have eased in most of the United States. Consumers are spending. The congestion that so badly jammed ocean ports last year has eased, at least a bit. Yet world conditions in general, and the economy in particular, still offer much to worry about. Ongoing COVID lockdowns in China keep companies guessing about access to essential materials, components, and nished goods. The war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia have skewed the energy market. Ination feeds fears of a recession. Spot trucking rates have fallen, but contract rates remain high. Fuel prices have dropped a good deal since mid-year, but are still too steep for comfort. And the ongoing driver shortage still inicts pain.

Both shippers and truckers are feeling their way through this new environment, trying to keep operations protable while planning for a future that’s hard to predict. One trend our market research survey reveals is that while trucking capacity is somewhat more available than it was a year ago, that hasn’t reduced the cost of shipping freight by truck. We also nd that, despite ongoing money worries, shippers still say that nding a reliable partner for over-the- road transportation is even more important than nding a partner with competitive rates. Inbound Logistics’ annual survey of shippers and truckers provides a chance to see the effects of current conditions, discover how companies are responding, nd out about their biggest concerns, and learn how they’re preparing for the future. This year’s survey offers a look at how shippers and truckers are navigating in a time of particular uncertainty.

TRUCKING PERSPECTIVES METHODOLOGY Gathering insights from both shippers and over-the-road carriers, our annual Trucking Perspectives market insight report provides a comparative analysis supported by empirical data and anecdotal observations. Our outreach comprises two parts. 1. More than 300 trucking companies completed a questionnaire that documents their assets, service capabilities, operational scope, and areas of expertise. We also asked carriers to comment on challenges and opportunities in today’s market. 2. We reached out to freight shippers to shed light on industry trends, regulatory challenges, and their partnerships with carriers.

44 Inbound Logistics • September 2022

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