2015 has been good for trucking, 2016 better still, says ATA

ATA expects 2016 to be even better for the trucking industry

This has been a “good year — not great” for most trucking companies in the U.S., and 2016 is looking to be as good or even “slightly better.”

That’s the outlook of American Trucking Associations’ President and CEO Bill Graves. Delivering a “state of the industry” address Sunday, Oct. 18 at the ATA’s annual Management Conference and Exhibition going on in Philadelphia, Graves said he also saw continued growth for the trucking, and strong gains in the industry’s pro-safety, pro-efficiency agenda – provided Congress takes action on necessary legislation.

“It still comes down to my basic calculus: More people equals more stuff,” said Graves. “And while all our other freight modal partners will continue to play their supporting role in moving this economy, the star of the show has been, is and will be the truck.

“Trucking Moves America Forward is not simply the name for our image campaign, it’s a fact. I am an unabashed supporter of this industry and see no scenario, no outcome on the horizon that is anything but great for this industry.”

But, trucking’s outlook is not trouble-free, according to Graves.

“If there’s a bogeyman that we need to be concerned about, look no farther than Washington, as the disarray within the House of Representatives could lead to all sorts of negative outcomes, unintended consequences and mischief for our economy,” Graves said. “It seems truly ironic that given all the turmoil that exists throughout the world, that the single biggest threat we may face is our own government.”

Graves said if Congress completes the long-term highway bill it’s working on, as well as the annual appropriations process, ATA will be able to address many of the items deemed most important to the industry.

Graves defended the role of government, in transportation and business, and called on all levels of government to do more to respond to trucking’s needs and the needs of the country.

“Let me tell you something: Government is not the enemy. Unfocused, unresponsive government is the enemy. Sloppy, wasteful government is the enemy. Overreaching, underperforming government is the enemy,” he said. “Too much government creates dependences that stifle personal responsibility and initiative. Too little government leaves gaps in critical programs and services that are necessary elements in sustaining this nation’s quality of life. Government at all levels should provide necessary beneficial service to all of us.”

See the full text of Gov. Graves’ speech as delivered.