I recently attended the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) annual conference in Dallas less than two weeks ago. This was the first time Sokolis Group had participated. It was also the first time I’ve ever been in Texas and what they say about everything being bigger held true. The conference had a pretty good turnout. It wasn’t the biggest I’ve been to in terms of attendees, but it wasn’t the smallest either. The venue on the other hand was definitely gigantic!
I’ve always felt along with many others I’m sure, that the economy starts with trucking. If business picks up there, it usually has a trickledown effect to other industries, eventually causing an upward trending economy. Just remember how everything we use on a daily basis gets to us. In some part of the process a truck is involved. Talking to industry leaders who stopped by our booth at the TCA, it seemed that their companies were doing very well. They’re as profitable now as they’ve ever been. That was encouraging to hear. With the winter most of the U.S. recently endured we could use some good news.
I’m not saying that I expect the economy to start booming, but maybe things are slowly heading in the right direction. I think with the recession trucking companies were forced to reevaluate how they were doing everything. They needed to stretch their dollars and become more efficient, and that was transparent when I was talking to attendees. They were focused on buying fuel better, getting better MPG’s, and eliminating out of route miles. The ones who were able tighten up are now benefiting and forcing others to keep up, now that we’re no longer in a recession.
Another topic that was a popular discussion at this conference was the lack of drivers; not anything earthshattering new to hear in the world of trucking. There were sessions on driver pay and other recruiting tactics to incentivize in this driver shortage. One possible solution was to recruit veterans into trucking. The challenging factor here is that driving is not an easy job. Besides the fact that it’s labor intensive, asking men and women to be on the road away from their families so often is also problematic. It’s not an easy sell, but obviously something has to be done to try to turn it around. I will say that knowing that drivers are the blood of their business, companies, vendors, and industry leaders appreciate drivers greatly. It was shown at the TCA as there were many award winners walking along the exhibition floor.
If you’d like to visit us at our next conference, we’ll be in Cincinnati for the National Private Trucking Council’s (NPTC) annual conference. Stop by booth 421 and talk to us. Otherwise feel free to reach out to me and discuss how we can help tighten up your fuel program.