Today's Trucking

U.S. rates push higher on tight capacity

Posted: December 22, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, IN – Spot and truck rates pushed higher this fall as the U.S. truck market tightened, analysts at FTR have found. Some of the capacity should ease in the first quarter, after holiday shipments – but the fallout from mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) will have a say in that.


“Conditions for trucking and shipping have been diverging dramatically since the hurricanes hit in August. The hurricanes highlighted the lack of extra capacity available in the system,” said Eric Starks, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FTR. Strong freight conditions in the latter half of the year added to that.


“Shippers are really feeling the pinch right now, and there is fear that the ELD mandate will impact capacity in the spring. We have essentially hit the 100% capacity mark – there is little, if any excess truck capacity,” he said. “Add in regulations, continued freight growth, or winter storms, and we could be pushing that above 100%. That would leave shippers scrambling to get loads delivered. And that means paying premium rates for those deliveries. It may be a tough first half of 2018 for shippers.”


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index tracks freight demand, rates, fleet capacity, and fuel prices affecting full-load freight.

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