Is capacity crunch coming to an end?

The capacity crunch for truckload carriers may be about over, notes equity research firm Morgan Stanley. There were 43,000 new truck orders in January, which was 9% more than the previous record for monthly orders, and more than double the trucking industry's typical 18,000-20,000 monthly replacement rate.

In an analyst report, Morgan Stanley analysts Chad Bruso and James Valentine observe, "This confirms our view that the recent truckload capacity crunch will ease this year." While some market observers challenge this view and express concern that there are no new truck drivers available to drive these trucks, the Morgan Stanley analysts reply, "If so, someone forgot to tell this to the carriers that are buying trucks at a breakneck pace." If carriers want to add capacity, they will pay to attract more drivers into the industry, Bruso and Valentine note.

Meanwhile, Mike Regan, CEO of TranzAct Technologies, indicates there is unexpected capacity in the less-than-truckload (LTL) sector as well. It remains to be seen whether these observations indicate long-term market shifts or are mere anomalies.

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