A key measure of truckload demand dropped 5.3 percent this week after rising sharply in recent weeks, remaining at its highest level since mid-2010.
The Longbow Research Truckload Barometer this week dropped from 164.5 to 155.8, a modest week-to-week decrease after an 18.9 percent leap the prior week.
The research firm's barometer measures the amount of available freight relative to current levels of available equipment, climbing as capacity gets tighter.
Year-over-year, the barometer is up 94.9 percent, and the index has risen 41.7 percent since the beginning of 2011, the investment research firm said Tuesday.
Spot market truckload freight volume rose 38 percent in February from the previous month and 65 percent from a year ago, according to TransCore.
Capacity should remain tight over the next several quarters thanks to an aging tractor fleet and more stringent truck safety programs, the firm said.
"Truckload demand picked up in early February, while produce demand also began soaking up available capacity in March in the Southeast," Longbow said.
The investment research firm's flatbed barometer rose 1 percent this week, its ninth straight week-to-week increase. The index is up 68.8 percent from last August.
Restocking and pre-buying by a North American steel industry facing price increases contributed to the constriction in flatbed capacity, Longbow said.
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