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Canadian Shippers Expect Modest Growth in 2010

January 6, 2010

Shippers expect modest growth in their volumes and in rate increases of their carriers in 2010. That is one of the findings in the fifth annual benchmarking survey undertaken by Supply Chain Surveys Inc. for the Canadian Industrial Transportation Association (CITA).

Each year CITA canvasses its membership to take the pulse of the shipper community and to provide its members with benchmarks and best practice information to assist them and their companies to better manage their transportation and logistics activities. This years core survey highlights include:

The impact the recession had on the transportation and logistics activities of the survey companies
A forward look into 2010, and
The attitude of shippers to environmental issues in their transportation purchases.

The survey covers all modes of transport: air freight, marine, rail, truck, and courier.

The core survey is followed each year by an in-depth survey looking more closely at shippers experiences with one or more modes of freight transportation. This years in-depth survey will focus on rail intermodal and less-than-truckload (LTL) trucking. The in-depth report will be released early in 2010.

The respondents reported that both volumes and costs were generally lower in 2009 as compared to 2008. 2009 volumes averaged 92% of the previous year and 58% of respondents saw their carrier rates decline. Regarding service, 79% of the respondents experienced service levels comparable to 2008, or some slight improvement. The report highlights the on-time scores of all modes and shows the trend of shipper experiences over the five years of the survey.

Looking forward to 2010, the survey group expects modest growth in volumes and rate increases. For example, rate increases are forecast to be under 2% for airfreight, courier, and truckload, slightly under 4% for LTL, intermodal, and rail, and as much as 10% in ocean shipping where rates have been severely depressed during the recession. No substantial modal shift is planned by the survey companies.

The 2009 core survey report includes information from the new Canadian General Freight Index (CGFI), tracking general trucking rates and trucking fuel surcharges over time. The CGFI, published by Nulogx Inc., shows that trucking charges grew by over 14% in the first half of 2008 prior to the recession and then declined by nearly 16% in the 12 month period ending August 2009.

With regard to environmental issues, 84% of responding companies stated that they have an environmental management plan, up slightly from the 80% who so stated in the first survey in 2005. In terms of environmental action, 33% of respondents in 2009 indicated that environmental performance was a factor in choosing a carrier. This was up from 20% in 2005. The awareness of the impact of greenhouse gases is growing as 19% of the survey companies now measure their carbon emissions, up from 12% in 2008.

The benchmarking information, useful for measuring transportation management performance, looked at such measures as transportation costs as a % of sales and transportation administrative budget as a % of transportation costs. While these measures will vary considerably by industry and commodity, the reported measures provide a useful context for companies.

The survey is carried out annually by Dr. Alan Saipe, P.Eng., of Supply Chain Surveys Inc. and is supported by Transport Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Nulogx, and beginning in 2009, RBC Capital Markets has become the lead sponsor of the annual survey.

The survey report is available for sale for $99 and can be ordered through the contact below.

The Canadian Industrial Transportation Association has been in existence since 1916 representing the transportation interests of Canadian industry. Our 120+ members include companies, both large and small, are from most industrial sectors and from all across the country. The CITA member companies contribute approximately $100 billion annually to the Canadian economy and purchase approximately $7 billion in freight services by truck, rail, marine, courier and airfreight.

For more information on the CITA, please visit

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Contact: Bob Ballantyne
Office: (613) 599-8993, Ext. 223
Cell: (613) 294-4569

For more information contact:
Bob Ballantyne
Canadian Industrial Transportation Association
Phone: 613-599-8993 x 223
Cell: 613-294-4569

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Canadian Industrial Transportation Association


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