Logistics, trucking firms face uphill battle

truck close upSAN DIEGO — Chief executives of companies that operate in the highly competitive trucking and logistics space admit they have a real challenge on their hands as they work to provide good service, seek new business and turn a profit as operating costs, including truck driver wages, go up.

“Customers want good service and good pricing,” Tom Madine, president and CEO of Worldwide Express, a global logistics company that manages packages and freight shipments mainly for smaller shippers, told the SMC3 Connections 2015 conference here Monday. Competition comes in many forms, he said.

To begin with, motor carriers and logistics providers this year are competing for business in an economy where growth has been somewhat weaker than last year. However, Rob Estes, president and CEO of Estes Express Lines, expects the second half of 2015 to show stronger growth that should carry on into 2016.

At the same time, operating costs continue to go up. Estes said his company, the largest privately owned U.S. less-than-truckload carrier, gave drivers a good-sized raise this year. He is paying $10,000 more per tractorthan he did six or seven years ago and government regulations have increased the cost of doing business.

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