Carriers Gaining the Upper Hand on Shippers

Feb. 1, 2011
As conditions improve for trucking companies, shippers will see rate increases and tighter capacity

FTR Associates' Trucking Condition Index rose to 7.1 in December, the highest level yet recorded during the current recovery. The index reflects tightening conditions for hauling capacity. Current conditions and strong prospects going forward are expected to steadily raise this index – possibly to a new record in early 2012.

The Trucking Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies, and the current readings as well as the forecast for the next few years bodes well for increased vehicle utilization and solid pricing power for carriers through the period.

FTR expects the delays in implementation of the FMCSA’s Hours-of-Service and CSA regulations to push out the peak shortage timing to early 2012.

"We have been forecasting steady improvements for the trucking sector," says Eric Starks, president of FTR. "Conservative fleet attitudes towards adding drivers and equipment combined with the continuing growth of freight means that trucking companies should see their equipment utilization nearing 100% later this year. As a result, carriers will have greater latitude to both raise rates and to be more selective with regard to freight. Despite the impact from regulatory drag being moved further out, improving economic conditions will help make 2011 a good year for trucking companies."

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