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The Perfect Buyer

“With all the news about company bankruptcies, increased government regulations, higher equipment costs and economic uncertainty, some motor-carrier owners are looking for options.

They are asking themselves: “Should I buy another company to get larger and spread the overhead of more regulations?” or “Should I sell? And if so, to whom?”

If selling is the preferred option, owners then find themselves looking for the “perfect buyer.”

The “perfect buyer” usually: (1) is willing to acquire either 100% of the business or a minority interest; (2) does not get involved in the day-to-day operations of the business; (3) pays fair market value; (4) offers flexible terms; (5) offers the seller the option of paying no capital gains tax on the sale; and/or (6) provides some upside participation in the future performance of the business….”

Excerpt from “Opinion: Looking for the Perfect Buyer?” by Ronald J. Gilbert, President of ESOP Services Inc. and Jim Parham, Managing Partner of Transport Capital Partners, published on the Transport Topics online newspaper. 

Read the full article here.

Transport Topics quotes TCP regarding “Experts See More to Come”

Transport Topics article on August 4, 2014, Transport Acquisitions Rise, quotes TCP extensively.  We see several factors building interest in mergers and acquisitions but with some caution if the economy slows.

Read the full article here.*

*Highlights denote Transport Capital Partners quotes

Capacity Growth An Inevitable Result of Lowered Utilization

Commercial Carrier Journal (www.ccjdigital.com) and TruckingInfo.com both recently ran stories highlighting TCP Survey data from the 4th Quarter Business Expectations Survey.

The survey showed a large majority of carriers expecting to grow capacity, and many moving to replace their aging vehicles.

The new hours-of-service rules have resulted in lower utilization of equipment. As a result, carriers are being pushed to increase capacity and raise driver pay.

The number of carriers indicating they are not going to add capacity has been trending down, and is now at its lowest level yet for the TCP survey, at just 27 percent.

Larger carriers expected to be more aggressive in adding equipment than smaller carriers. Thirty-nine percent of larger carriers expected to add between 5% to 15% compared with only 27% of smaller carriers.

“We suspect that all the 2007 pre-buy tractors are being traded out. If smaller carriers are not able to replace older, less fuel-efficient equipment (and their higher maintenance costs), those carriers will not be well positioned to benefit from looming good times,” says TCP Partner Richard Mikes.

TruckingInfo.com Article: http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/story/2014/01/capacity-growth-an-inevitable-result-of-lowered-utilization.aspx

Commercial Carrier Journal Article: http://www.ccjdigital.com/monday-money-carriers-to-add-capacity-freight-indices-mixed-union-votes/

Carriers Continue to Evaluate HOS Impacts

Transport Capital Partners’ (TCP) fourth-quarter survey results showed new Hours of Service rules impacting carrier productivity. TheTrucker.com posted a recent article detailing this impact.

Increases in rates and improved accessorial charges have yet to materialize for many carriers. They are, instead, looking to increase productivity as a means to raising their bottom lines.

However, the new HOS regulations appear to be significantly impacting that avenue of growth.

Seventy-eight percent of carriers reported HOS as having some impact on productivity. Thirty-seven percent say the new regulations will have more than a 5 percent impact.

Amazingly, almost six months after the changes were implemented, 16 percent of carriers still have not determined the impact. 

Read more here.

Carriers Finding Re-Negotiation of Accessorials Challenging

TodaysTrucking.com shared TCP survey results (from the 4th Quarter BES) that show 42% of carriers expecting their customers to resist re-negotiating accessorials.

Fifty percent of smaller carriers and 38 percent of larger carriers expressed pessimistism about accessorials. However, carriers small and large were more positive about re-negotiating detention times – 43 percent expected to re-negotiate.

“Credit availability and carrier profitability go hand–in-hand, both are essential to replace aging fleet assets and to grow capacity. Carriers with stronger profitability and cash flows will find credit available and affordable and will be better positioned to gain market share,” said Steven Dutro, TCP Partner.

Full article here.

Entry-Level Drivers Will Be Sought

With the many changes taking place in the regulatory and economic environment, many carriers are reviewing their labor policies. Highlighting 4th Quarter BES results, Commercial Carrier Journal (ccjdigital.com) recently reported on these trends.

The TCP survey showed less than 30% of carriers hiring inexperienced, entry-level drivers. But that number is set to grow. Slightly over half of all carriers expect to soon be training and utilizing inexperienced, entry-level drivers.

While this majority is slight, a stunning 84 percent of carriers are willing to support allowing younger, properly trained drivers to enter the driving pool.

“We believe this means they support other carriers hiring and training younger driver so that they can then poach them later,” says Richard Mikes, TCP Partner.

Read the article here.

Carriers Optimistic On Near-Term Volumes & Rates

A recent article in Commercial Carrier Journal (ccjdigital.com) references the TCP Fourth Quarter 2013 Survey to highlight carrier optimism for volume and rate growth.

Continuing the positive trends of the previous quarter, more carriers are expressing optimism for increases in volumes and rates. Since the fourth quarter of 2012, positive volume expectations have risen from 29 percent to 61 percent.

With those increasing volumes, a majority of carriers are also expecting rates to climb over the coming months. There are now close to three times as many optimistic carriers as pessimistic carriers.

“Volumes and rates continue to be more entwined as positive GDP numbers are laid on top of effective capacity brought down by the FMCSA driving hour mandates,” says Steven Dutro, TCP Partner.

Check out the full article here.

Carriers Sensing an Improving Marketplace

TCP survey results in a recent TruckingInfo.com article show improving conditions in the industry, but also some cause for hesitancy.

The steady growth of the economy is producing increasingly positive expectations from carriers. A majority of carriers are expecting volumes and rates to climb in 2014.

But despite this optimism, rate and volume growth has yet to fully materialize – aside from the construction, petroleum and seasonal freight sectors.

Over the last 16 months, a majority of carriers have expected rate increases. However, only since the first quarter of 2013 have rates actually risen.

But Richard Mikes, TCP Partner, notes, “Initial carrier contacts and load board reports show strength in spot market rates. This, coupled with positive political news in D.C., gives hope for stability in the economy with carrier rate expectations in the survey.”

For the complete article click here.

Four Consecutive Quarters of Mounting Optimism

Transport Topics ran an article in December that highlighted the 4th quarter 2013 TCP Business Expectations Survey.

In the article they note that most trucking companies are expecting their volumes to increase, and to be able to raise their rates, in 2014. As the TCP survey revealed, the indicators of mounting optimism for both volumes and rates have been in place now for four consecutive quarters.

“TCP illustrated the fact that optimism has outpaced pricing reality by noting that a majority of fleets have been predicting higher rates for four years, though prices didn’t begin to rise until 2013,” states the article.

Read more here.

TCP Partner Lana Batts Interviewed by DC Velocity

Recently, TCP Partner Lana Batts was interviewed by DC Velocity as part of their Thought Leader Q & A series. The article highlights her extensive background in the transportation industry and her views on current trucking hot topics. Responding to questions from Senior Editor Mark B. Solomon, Lana Batts discusses the new hours-of-service regulations, her role in Tulsa, Okla.-based company Driver iQ, women in trucking, and the thorny issue of driver pre-screening.

Read the full interview here.