Execs See Logistics Technology Accelerating, Predict Capacity Crunch, Seek Better Image
Derek Leathers, photo by American Trucking Associations
This story appears in the May 2 print edition of Transport Topics.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Trucking executives offered sweeping views of the future of the industry to shippers, including the need for more capacity, more advocacy and the coming of autonomous operations throughout the supply chain.
The executives made their remarks during a panel discussion at Nasstrac’s 2016 Shippers Conference and Transportation Expo here April 25-27.
Taking what he called a “contrarian view” at a time when capacity-restricting regulations are mounting, carrier bankruptcies are rising and truck production and orders are down, Werner Enterprises President Derek Leathers said the carrier is going to make more capital expenditures this year than in its 60-year history to reduce the age of its fleet.
Leathers said in an interview with Transport Topics that figure was between $400 million and $450 million, and that 80% of it would go to Class 8 trucks and trailers. He put the number of new trucks at “3,000 plus.”
“The table is set for a turn that we have not seen in a long, long time,” he said. “We want to be there with the best trucks, best drivers, best trailers with technology ready to catch that freight when it happens.”
Leathers also advised shippers concerned about paying higher rates to track how carriers spend that money.
“If you support your carrier, just make sure you follow the money,” he said. “If we ask for rate relief, rate support and we say it’s to take care of drivers and improve their life and their wages, and we want to retain them, make sure we do it.”
Turning to advocacy, UPS Freight President Jack Holmes shared insight on the National Freight Advisory Council, a board on which he sits.
“It’s the most diverse group of people you could ever imagine,” he said, adding it includes a lot of special interest safety advocates, and “they really look at us as like we are bad people.”
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|By Roger W. Gilroy|
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