2014 Year in Review in the Trucking Industry

Wow, what a year of extremes we had in 2014!  As we begin 2015 this article is a look back on the highs and lows of 2014, an extremely volatile year.

The price of fuel

The price of fuel peaked at a National Average of just over $4.00 US per gallon and finished the year dropping to 3.21 per gallon, a price not seen since 2010 as we were coming out of the economic collapse of late 2008.

 

fuel graph 2014

 

Freight Volumes

The year opened with a bang! Transcore reported that their freight index was the highest ever, it peaked in April, but has since declined to slightly below 2012, and 2013 volumes for the month of December 2014.

Regulatory

  • In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced joint greenhouse gas emissions standards and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles, applicable to model-year 2014 vehicles and engines.
  • After a strong stance on the latest HOS regulations, on December 16, 2014 FMCSA suspends the enforcement of 49 CFR 395, regarding the restart of a driver’s 60 or 70 hour limit restart that drivers were required to comply with since July 1 2013.

 

Biggest News Stories

  • The driver shortage was by far the biggest story of 2014.  A combination of a booming economy, aging/retiring workforce and Hours of Service regulations that restricted capacity; everyone was feeling the pinch of more freight than they had drivers to move.
  • Extreme weather events:  the year started out with a massive ice storm the hindered transportation and left hundreds of thousands of people without power.  Late 2014 the Buffalo area was hit with a massive snow storm that closed down all major highways leading to the border for several days causing a major transportation disaster.
  • The Canadian dollar has slowly been declining with the price of oil, as Canada’s resource based economy is highly dependent on commodity prices.  The year started off with a 91 cent dollar that fell to 86 cents by the end of 2014.  If this continues it should effect the balance of trade and mean more southbound truck traffic to the US.
  • In part because of the dollar, and in part because of falling price of oil, the balance of trade with the US has experienced wild swings.  Making transborder logistics unpredictable.

The Canadian Dollar

  • The Canadian dollar has slowly been declining with the price of oil, as Canada’s resource based economy is highly dependent on commodity prices.  The year started off with a 91 cent dollar that fell to 86 cents by the end of 2014.  If this continues it should effect the balance of trade and mean more southbound truck traffic to the US.

Balance of Trade with the US

  • In part because of the dollar, and in part because of falling price of oil, the balance of trade with the US has experienced wild swings.  Making transborder logistics unpredictable.

balance of trade

Outlook for 2015?

Let’s hope for the best, but many of the issues that caused uncertainty in the industry are going to be around for 2015.  The driver shortage is not going away any time soon, the price of oil remaining low could have significant effects on the economy and freight patterns, but one ill political situation in an oil producing country could cause oil to dramatically rise to more recent high prices.  As global warming increases over time, the weather situation will only get worse.

This is what makes trucking and logistics a challenge for everyone who works in the industry.  This year in 2015 XTL is celebrating 30 years in the business.  XTL has been navigating the ups and downs of the transportation industry for 30 years.  We certainly know how weather troubling times and uncertainty.  If you need help with your trucking and logistics systems, XTL can certainly help you.  Contact us to put our years of experience to work for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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