There is a general consensus that 2016 was a rough year for a number of reasons. Whether your favorite celebrity died, the political environment stressed you out, or you’re tired of hearing about all the chaos in the world, 2016 seemed to have a lot going wrong. But, it is a new year filled with new possibilities!
So, what could 2017 hold for the world of trucking?
With numerous crashes involving commercial vehicles last year, safety advocates and legislators passed several regulations to make truck driving safer. Some of these regulations include changes to how hours-of-service are recorded, from paper to electronic logs, possible speed limit changes for heavier vehicles, training and equipment requirements etc. But, are these new rules and regulations actually going to make a difference or do they just look good on paper? Many have expressed concerns that they will make things more difficult and can create more dangerous environments for drivers.
Our industry is anxious to see how anticipated changes with the new President Trump administration will impact our business lives. Naturally, we hope to see positive changes. Many are calling for the Trump administration to completely redo how the U.S. DOT creates new trucking regulations. Bill Sullivan, ATA’s Executive Vice President for Advocacy, says, “What we hope to see from a Trump administration is a more inclusive and data-driven regulatory process – one focused on good, sound safety and economic outcomes, rather than a process that drafts regulatory solutions in search of problems.” Trump has expressed that he would like to make a major investment in improving infrastructure, calling for up to $1 trillion dollars for projects to improve roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.
Although the driver shortage is still present, the trucking industry has seen decline in the past few years as demand in the freight industry sinks. Experiencing layoffs or decreasing shipping volumes has some people understandably pessimistic. But, there seems to be a trend toward a recovery. It’s no secret that U.S. manufacturing has been on a decline for decades. With cheaper costs overseas, many companies have taken their operations elsewhere. This is obviously a problem for the freight industry, which relies on manufacturing to be strong. But economists are looking optimistically to 2017. Manufacturing is expected to improve in the U.S. thanks to automation in factories along with a growing “Made in USA” movement. John Blodgett, vice president of sales and marketing for research and consulting firm MacKay & Co., says, manufacturing and consumer spending is looking to increase. “In the short term, it’s not gangbusters, but by the midpoint of next year, all indications are that we should have a positive economy.” This means a positive outlook for the manufacturing and trucking industry for 2017.