Acadiana Business

Trucking execs optimistic about economy

by Leslie Turk

Results of new Business Sentiment Index show Louisiana trucking execs expect "better than normal" economic conditions.

The Louisiana Motor Transport Association and UL Lafayette's Moody College of Business recently teamed up on a survey of Louisiana trucking industry executives to assess their view of economic indicators associated with the trucking and logistics industry. The survey's results - a "better than normal" outlook - are one barometer of trends in future economic activity in the state and country.

"Our industry, much like the economy in general, has been experiencing roller-coaster ups and downs for the past few years," said LMTA Chairman Doug Place, CFO of Lafayette-based Dupre' Logistics. "Studies such as this provide a view of the future and assist professionals in making smart business decisions. In Louisiana and the nation, the logistics industry serves as a leading indicator of upcoming shifts in the business landscape due to our important role in the supply chain."

The sentiment index conducted in July and August 2011 surveyed 34 trucking industry executives in Louisiana. The survey concluded that the Business Sentiment Index for the 2nd Quarter of 2011 was 56 out of 100. A reading of 50 is normal. Therefore, the score of 56 indicates that the sentiment in the industry is "better than normal."

"The first ever Louisiana trucking survey indicates that the transport sector is doing better than the rest of the economy," said Dr. Linus Wilson, assistant professor of finance in the Department of Economics & Finance at UL. "Despite the slow overall national economy, transport companies have greater truck loadings than last year. Costs are increasing for trucking companies, forcing them to seek rate increases. Many trucking companies are looking to expand, but are hampered by a lack of qualified drivers."

Respondents answered questions about orders, prices, new business prospects and drivers. The LMTA plans to repeat this inaugural survey quarterly, making results available to the logistics industry and Louisiana business community. Read the inaugural survey here.