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July 6 2020

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10 The Journal of Commerce | July 6 2020 Cover Story "We will have the capacity to see us through the rest of this peak," Ken Adamo, chief of analytics at DAT Solutions, said, referring to the uptick in freight volumes that began in May after US businesses that shut down in March and April began reopening. Produce season, and normal season- ality, typically make June one of the strongest months for trucking. "The question is what happens to these small and mid-sized carriers once the PPP goes away?" Adamo asked, referring to the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans available to small businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. "What's going to happen when the dust settles and carriers are exposed to the new normal?" and observers warning of a sharp loss of trucking capacity by the time freight demand and volume seasonally rise this fall. No one, however, knows how much trucking capacity might exit as freight demand drops, or how signifi cantly freight demand might rise past Labor Day, putting even more pressure on remaining truck capacity and spot rates. That has led to calls for more relief. "Small over-the-road carriers, which make up more than 90 percent of the US trucking industry, need the same level of federal backing that airlines and railroads have received as they keep US domestic supply lines intact during the COVID-19 pandemic," Lily Shen, president and CEO of Transfi x, said in a Journal of Commerce commentary. THIS SUMMER WILL be a trial for tens of thousands of small trucking com- panies struggling to stay in business. First, they will likely see freight volumes level o and drop seasonally after Independence Day. Second, gov- ernment assistance that has helped some companies pay drivers will run out, removing a safety net that has kept some small carriers rolling. That has many industry executives US trucking capacity sweating through recovery By William B. Cassidy Summer squeeze

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