Trucking Turnaround? Companies Report Rising Revenue

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, May. 9, 2011 12:00 am  

Asked whether he saw fuel prices easing, Crowell said, "It may ease a little but I'm not an expert in global energy. My thought is that it's not going to get a lot cheaper because we're not the only ones using it," referring to demand from emerging markets like China.

"Trucking will continue to improve as long as the economy does," Costello said. "I think the rate of growth will slow because of oil prices, but I don't think at this stage of the game that it will throw us back into a recession. If they go a lot higher, that would be more troubling."


Lessons Learned

Kidd said trucking companies had learned to be more nimble in building fuel prices into their rates.

"The trucking industry has become much more adept at implementing fuel surcharge formulas, whereas a few years ago shippers were reluctant to even go there," Kidd said. "Most now realize that that $2 fuel they used to believe was going to be the norm was wishful thinking. Now, $3.50 would be a good thing. So the fuel surcharges are here to stay."

He said that this shift in thinking - a view toward the new normal perhaps - was a positive.

"The economy seems to be solid enough that it can even withstand some increases in fuel prices," he said. That's a different scenario from 2008 when fuel reached $4.50 and even $5 a gallon.

"It seemed like that was the last straw and the economy just teetered off the edge after that," Kidd said. "People don't seem to yet think that fuel prices would do that to the economy now, which is a nice signal that there's a lot of confidence out there that hasn't been out there in a long time."


The Lists

YRC Worldwide Inc., though it remains No. 1 on the list of trucking companies with significant Arkansas presence, was among those companies that experienced a decline in revenue during 2010 compared with 2009: 18 percent. That compounded a nosedive of 41 percent in 2009.



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