The Q2 2014 Fleet Sentiment Report survey conducted in April by CK Commercial Vehicle Research (CKCVR) revealed how widespread the driver shortage is and how it is likely to impact future vehicle purchases. In answer to multiple questions regarding the current environment at trucking fleets, many and varied types of operations reported that the inability to find and retain qualified drivers was hindering their ability to grow and add equipment. As an example when asked what factors most impacted their equipment purchases, outside of normal business conditions and freight demand, 55% indicated it was driver availability, the highest of any of the choices they were given.
CKCVR’s FSR Buying Index for Q2 2014 came in at a reading of 101.8 down from Q1 but slightly above the same quarter in 2013. The index is based on truck and trailer planned purchase activity for the next three months and expected unit volume for the group responding. Just 2% of the planned power units to be ordered were designated for added capacity, reflecting the inability of fleets to put additional power units into service without equivalent drivers.
Other results from the survey reflected a tight capacity situation with high utilization, virtually no trucks parked for lack of work, and overall positive view of business conditions.