CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
May 22, 2019
Forward Thinking

Survey: logistics and transportation providers optimistic about fourth quarter economics

Revenue and profitability expected to rise, but concerns linger about workforce shortages, regulatory issues, and trade tariffs, TCompanies finds.

Logistics and transportation providers are optimistic regarding the U.S. economy and their company prospects over the coming fourth quarter, although they are wary of issues with workforce shortages, regulatory issues, and trade tariffs, according to an industry survey released this week.

Seventy-four percent of respondents said they are optimistic about the U.S. economy over the next three months, with 64 percent planning to increase hiring, 75 percent expecting increased revenue, and 67 percent expecting increased profitability, according to the survey conducted in July by transportation technology provider TCompanies Inc.

The study included 175 replies from companies in the trucking sector (30 percent), third party logistics providers (3PLs) (17 percent), brokers (10 percent), technology providers (7 percent), and shippers and freight forwarders (6 percent each). Additional replies came from smaller numbers of: leasing, warehouse, rail, software, fourth party logistics providers (4PLs), steamship, transportation management system (TMS), and depot firms.

Despite that optimism, the survey also revealed that firms are showing concern about inflation, with 58 percent planning to increase prices and just 38 percent planning to increase wages over the fourth quarter, Henderson, Nev.-based TCompanies said.

Asked to rank their largest obstacles to growth over the coming quarter, respondents listed their top three concerns as workforce shortage (44 percent), regulatory issues (19 percent), and trade tariffs (17 percent). Additional concerns that registered with fewer than 10 percent of respondents included: access to credit, wage costs, repair expenses, and energy costs.

"The survey numbers confirm what we have been feeling for some time in the logistics and transportation industry - overall, things are going very well," TCompanies CEO Tom Burke said in a statement. "And while there is a great amount of optimism, there are cautionary concerns with inflationary pressures as a majority plan to increase pricing and pass costs on to customers in the next three months."

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