Let’s start the New Year on a positive note. Tonnage rose 6% in November for the 24th consecutive month showing signs of growth, not a recession. This is good news for the economy and great news for truckers.

What has fueled this spark of growth is the demand for manufacturing and retailers have lean inventories which need to be replenished. I ran into this late in October when I was trying to purchase mulch for my garden. Wal-Mart didn’t stock it anymore because they were ‘keeping their inventory lean, and didn’t want to have to send it back,’ a helpful sales-person informed me. As a consumer, I was not happy with the situation, but lean inventories mean big business for truckers.

Holidaysales in November and December were greater than expected. With the continued job and income growth, along with an upswing in the housing market where new construction is at its highest level in 19 months, things are looking up. Even though the American economy seems to be gaining speed, the global economy is still turbulent and will probably dip into a mild recession and ultimately, have an effect on our economy.

Experts are cautious, but hopeful that 2012 will bring about domestic economic growth, and the trucking industry may be entering its most profitable year yet as freight demand continues to push against the limits of industry capacity. Production and sales of new trucks and trailers will also rise in 2012 as fleets continue to replace old equipment. Analysts expect the economy to grow faster in 2012 than in 2011, and freight rates to rise faster than inflation.

It looks like 2012 is going to be a busy year for truckers as freight demand continues to grow and shippers and brokers struggle to hire trucks. Hopefully, the momentum that the U.S. has gained will continue throughout the coming year and truckers will see positive profit margins