A slow-growth economy, high fuel prices, and shifting freight patterns are leading many carriers large and small to readjust their long-term strategies so they are “balanced” better for the future.

“What we’re seeing in the market is the continuing process of convergence,” Eric Starks, president of FTR Associates, explained to Fleet Owner. “It’s hard to see in the data sometimes, but it’s happening: the growth of more regional freight versus long-haul cargo; the continuing momentum of intermodal taking market share away from long-haul; and the greater need of flexibility on the part of carriers to meet more diverse shipper needs.”

All of those issues – among many others, such as high fuel prices and tight capacity – are leading carriers to make changes to their operations at a much faster pace.

For example, according to Transport Capital Partners’ (TCP) first quarter2012 Business Expectations Survey, 19% of carriers report changing their type of haul – a 25% increase from a year ago.