ORLANDO. During a speech here at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s annual meeting, Kevin Knight, chairman & CEO of Phoenix-based truckload carrier Knight Transportation, listed what he believes to be the four biggest challenges facing trucking in the months ahead:

Falling freight volumes: “This is our biggest challenge right now – and there are not enough loads for all of us,” Knight said. “We must all be prudent and take capacity out [of the system] if that is what it takes.”

Shipper stress: “I’m really worried about all the turmoil our customers are experiencing in trying to size their businesses correctly,” he said. “I am worried a lot about how aggressive they are being with our industry to cut down their transportation costs. I am concerned what that pressure to cut cost will do to their transportation and logistics planning overall.”

Equipment pre-buy: “As we get ready for the next emission cycle, I hope our industry does not try again to beat it,” Knight said. “We need to stay prudent with our equipment purchases in this storm. There’s no significant indication of a pre-buy now, but it would be disastrous to try and order 150,000 trucks over the last six months this year and then order nothing in 2010.”

Fuel: “Concern about fuel prices has got to be in here,” he said. “One of the good things in the economy right now is that the price of fuel is down – and it’ll help if it stays down. But if not, it’s going to be much, much tougher on our industry.”

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