- Potential upside to the 2023 peak season is being dampened by customers who are signaling weak demand, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Intermodal President and EVP Darren Field said at an investor conference last week.
- “I don't have any customers really predicting a significant peak season,” Field said at Deutsche Bank’s 2023 Transportation Conference in New York. "So we're not hearing about needs for capacity in an elevated manner for the holiday shopping season."
- A muted peak season is likely to be the outcome, Werner Enterprises Chairman, President and CEO Derek Leathers said at the same conference.
Some freight carriers are forecasting a range of modest or moderate market improvements this peak season. Others have projected an upturn could come in 2024.
J.B. Hunt’s potential for improvement rests on consumer behavior, and the company has a mixed bag of customers that are growing and others that aren’t, Field said.
Uncertainties in the market linger, but the intermodal provider expects volumes to normalize.
For Werner, Q2 was one of the roughest quarters Leathers has seen in his career in terms of demand, but he’s suggested that the worst of the downturn seems to be behind the industry.
But there’s still a lot of uncertainty for the upcoming holiday season and where demand heads, Werner suggested.
“Is it going to be one of the — like a pre-COVID peak?” Leathers said. “I think it's way too early to make that statement."