Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bank On It:

Morgan Stanley 2012 Transportation Conference guardedly optimistic.

At their annual Transportation Conference last week, financial services giant Morgan Stanley Co. LLC hosted freight company management teams, to take the pulse of the cargo moving biz.

While the forecasts are couched in bankerese, overall they strike a note of cautious optimism as the outlook for the coming year. If no one was popping the Champagne corks, at least the industry leaders didn’t see the transportation sector driving off a cliff.

“Regarding demand, companies across all surface transport verticals reiterated current stability in volume trends with expectations for demand growth to remain moderate through 2012,” said Morgan Stanley’s William Greene, summarizing the conference’s findings. “Rails, brokers and LTL carriers alike reiterated expectations for repricing opportunities, tight capacity and continued pricing discipline to continue supporting pricing strength in 2012.” Or in other words, the carriers think they can make their rates stick.

The transport execs didn’t see the threatened rail strike as likely to become a reality, but did expect a continued driver shortage for big rigs to squeeze capacity in trucking, exacerbated by implementation of new HOS, or hours of service regulations.

Overall, “freight surface transportation companies generally see little evidence of a double-dip, a view we agree with,” said Morgan Stanley in the report’s key takeaways.

Kirk Shearer
800-989-0054 x103

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