Truckload capacity is tightening in the U.S. Southeast at a greater rate than other portions of the country, according to Longbow Research.
The investment research firm's weekly truckload barometer showed capacity to be particularly tight along the East Coast from Florida to Maryland and Delaware.
The 15 LBR truckload barometer for the week ending June 11 supports anecdotal reports from shippers and freight brokers struggling to find equipment in the Southeast.
They're being pinched by a seasonal shift of equipment to produce shippers, industry sources say. As a result, other shippers and brokers are paying higher rates.
U.S. Truck Shipping Costs: By The Numbers.
"Right now in the South the growing season is hitting the industry like a ton of bricks," said Jeffrey Tucker, president of freight broker Tucker Company Worldwide.
"That's where we're seeing double digit increases" in rates, Tucker said.
"Produce is coming up from South America through Florida, and that creates demand for trucks at a premium price," said Doug Waggoner, president and CEO of Echo Global Logistics. "That's stealing capacity away from the commodity shippers."
The shift of trucking equipment to high-value, short-shelf-life produce is normal for the season. After the recession, however, there are fewer trucks to go around, and carriers are dedicating more equipment to higher-priced produce shipments.
"The impact of the seasonality is intensified by tightening capacity," said Tucker.
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