December 6, 2022



Transportation: A good place to be in a crazy world

“Crisis management and flexible response have become critical,” ACT Research’s Jim Meil said, speaking at a recent NationaLease meeting.

Between COVID-19, supply chain issues, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we’ve had three years of shocks. Inventories are lean, labor is scarce, but demand is still pretty solid, he said. However, inflation is at the highest level in 40 years, impacting both goods and labor.

The three biggest risks he sees for 2022 are the Russia-Ukraine war, inflation, and high interest rates and then what he calls the 3Cs—COVID, China and cyber-warfare.

See also: The next pandemic: Cybercrime

Meil shared both the bad news and the good news for 2022 with meeting attendees.

The bad news includes:

  • Unknown outcomes from global risk
  • The stock market
  • Inflation
  • WTI oil prices
  • Commodity prices
  • Shaky business and consumer confidence
  • COVID BA.2 variant
  • Higher interest rates

The good news includes:

  • The economy is solid
  • There is ample pent-up demand
  • Omicron cases are in rapid decline
  • Inventories are lean
  • Small business confidence is pretty high
  • Credit still is available
  • Consumers and business are still buying big-ticket items

During the presentation, Meil shared a lot of data to support his beliefs, but he also had some key takeaways for the group.

Finance and commodity markets point to a potential for a rougher ride ahead. “Much will depend on how fast conflict [in Ukraine] settles,” he said.

See also: Ukraine update: Understanding risks to U.S. trucking, transportation

Inflation has kicked the Federal Reserve into action with a 6% to 7% in the Fed rate increase expected in 2022, with more to come in 2023. “Recovery should last until 2025 or [longer]; this may be the challenge year,” he added.

“Trucking and transportation are still at the head of the class,” he believes. The demand for goods is still the pacesetter for the economy.

“Opportunity remains, but clouds thicken. The pent-up equipment demand and supply chain struggles may worsen with war [in Ukraine].”

The title of Meil’s presentation was A Good Place To Be In A Crazy World. I think he’s right; trucking is a good place to be … but I may be biased because I think it is always a good place to be.

Jane Clark focuses on managing the member services operation at NationaLease as vice president of member services. She works to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups.