Survey: owner-operators say freight rates and volumes plummet during pandemic

Despite challenges, ATBS finds many drivers received stimulus funds, and few have had to stretch safety regulations.
generic truck ATBS survey
Trucking line owner-operators say their greatest business hurdles during pandemic conditions have been freight rates and load volumes, according to a survey conducted by transportation industry consulting and bookkeeping firm American Truck Business Services (ATBS).
According to the survey, freight volume has dropped by 50% or more for 35% of the owner-operators surveyed, and 11% claim freight is nonexistent. As for payment, 47% of owner-operators said that freight rates have dropped by 30% or more. However, 65% of the owner-operators are still running during the pandemic, and only 6% have had to furlough an employee or independent contractor.
Seeking financial relief, 81% of owner-operators received the $1200 Economic Impact Payment, 53% applied for a paycheck protection program (PPP) loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and 30% received funding.
Despite the business pressures, the majority of owner-operators surveyed have not had to operate outside of normal regulations during the crisis, although federal regulators have relaxed certain restrictions under a national state of emergency. Although many of those rules had been loosened, 87% of those surveyed said they have not had to drive beyond hours of service (HOS) time limits, 95% have not had to operate with an expired commercial drivers license (CDL), and 96% have not had to haul a load above weight limits.

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