As capacity remains tight, trucking conditions remain positive

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Though the monthly Trucking Conditions Index (produced by FTR) sunk slightly in October, it still remained high, signaling good conditions for trucking companies.

Due to regulatory drag brought on by hours-of-service rule changes implemented earlier this year, capacity remains tight, FTR says, and truck utilization is nearing a point where further tightening of capacity could put upward pressure on rates.

Moreover, if economic growth continues in 2014, shipping rates will further increase and add to trucking’s bottom line, FTR says.

Jonathan Starks, FTR’s Director of Transportation Analysis, said rates are likely to continue to rise heading into 2014.

“While the total truck industry is showing solid freight growth, the highly visible dry van sector has been relatively stagnant for most of 2013,” he said. “However, as cost increases continue to move higher, especially following the implementation of new HOS regulations this summer, we look for rates to follow suit. They began moving up during Q3 but not sufficiently enough to make up for the increased costs, and carriers’ margins deteriorated. The increased public rhetoric from fleet executives about this issue is setting up the scene for continued rate movement into 2014.”