Truckers Seen Hiking Rates, Fueling Inflation Rates

Wednesday, 02 Mar 2011 12:48 AM

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Truckers are expected to raise their rates by 5 percent in 2011 and pump up inflation rates in the process, industry experts say. Soaring fuel prices, tougher safety regulations and increased demand are fueling the rate increases, according to the research firm R.W. Baird, USA Today reports.

Rates dropped from 2007 to 2009 and crept up 2 percent in 2010.

"By the second half, shippers will be willing to pay premiums," says Tommy Hodges, chairman of Titan Transfer, a carrier in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

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Truckers may raise their rates by 5 percent.
Higher oil prices have pushed diesel prices up by 20 percent since September.

Meanwhile, new safety ratings applied to trucking companies have slapped warnings on some carriers, chasing users away from those trucks even though they operate safely, says Tom Sanderson, CEO of Transplace, which manages freight delivery for businesses.

The new ratings will drive some carriers out of business and reduce fleets 5 percent to 10 percent in the next couple of years, Sanderson says.

Over a year, analysts estimate, $100 per-barrel oil prices will reduce U.S. economic growth by 0.2 or 0.3 of a percentage point, according to the Associated Press, which means less hiring and high unemployment rates.

Gasoline prices are currently around $3.29 a gallon on average across the United States, although unrest in the Middle East will push prices higher and just in time for the normal price hikes that come with summer.

"When we get over $3.75 we are looking at very serious consequences for the economy," Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, tells the Associated Press.

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