The typical seasonal squeeze that accompanies increased freight volumes in June came later this year, says equity research firm Morgan Stanley. The company’s proprietary Truckload Index that measures freight volume relative to capacity showed an increase for the period through June 22. This was about two weeks later than normal, according to the analyst firm.
The seasonally adjusted dry-van truckload index showed a modest sequential increase from May after five months of declines.
Additions of capacity have contributed to slower pricing increases, the report continues. And though increased capacity may have helped keep the index below its year-ago level, the levels remain above any other year for the 11 years the Truckload Index has been compiled.
Shippers continue to report 4% to 8% price increases compared with a trend of 1% to 2% over the last decade. With increased availability of capacity, shippers say they are no longer paying carriers for running empty miles. Shippers also say they are finding better rates on spot moves for the first time since 2003.
The challenge for motor carriers, says the report, is that pricing increases may be decelerating at a time when costs are rising faster – including driver pay and the costs associated with new emissions requirements.