Article Image

IPFS News Link • Transportation

Truck Drivers Are Facing Another Bloodbath

• by Rachel Premack

A truck driver buddy suggested that the newly unemployed Walters join him in the industry. So Walters drove an 18-wheeler around the country, seeing places like Seattle and the Grand Canyon, before he decided to own his own fleet. Today, the Clearwater, Florida, resident operates seven trucks.

Walters mostly stays at home, but sometimes he gets behind the wheel again. "For me, it's almost like a vacation, except I get paid," he said.

The trucking business has been burgeoning since he got into it. The pandemic sparked historic demand for durable goods, which is the kind of stuff Walters and his employees haul in their dry vans. But a maelstrom of inflation, rising diesel prices and overcapacity in the trucking market is sparking a sudden tumble of freight rates. "It's been a struggle," Walters said. "That's for sure."

The indicators are worrisome

Demand for freight has undeniably slowed. And, at FreightWaves, we believe a recession in trucking might be next.

Wednesday, the much-adored Cass Transportation Index Report declared that the freight market is in a slowdown, though the index's experts said it's too soon to declare a recession. Banks like Cowen and Bank of America have recently downgraded trucking stocks in their own notes to investors.