FedEx Freight will raise its non-contract truck pricing 6.75 percent on Sept. 6, the nation’s largest less-than-truckload motor carrier said Monday.
The rate increase, which will apply to non-contract freight in the U.S. and Canada, throws FedEx Freight’s $4.4 billion weight behind efforts to bolster LTL pricing.
The action by the Memphis-based trucker follows general rate increases at most of the nation’s largest LTL truckers in July and August, starting with UPS Freight.
However, FedEx Freight is aiming slightly lower than those carriers, which bumped up their tariff rates 6.9 percent. FedEx Freight raised its rates 6.9 percent last fall.
UPS Freight set off a round of early LTL rate hikes among the largest trucking companies in July, a clear signal to shippers that trucking costs are set to rise.
It was followed by ABF Freight System, Con-way Freight, YRC Worldwide and Estes Express Lines, which all raised their general rates 6.9 percent.
General rate increases apply only to non-contract freight, typically a minority of the cargo handled by LTL carriers. However, GRIs raise the bar in contract talks.
GRIs usually support a lower percentage rate increase in contract pricing.
Last year several companies took two GRIs in the same year in an attempt to recover from a fierce price war in 2009 and overall cuts in rates during the recession.
Most of the pricing gains from the 2010 GRIs stuck, carriers said, with little of the discounting that once undercut attempts to raise their pricing floor.
Truckers say rising operating costs make rates hikes a necessity. Estes Express pointed to higher tire costs spurred by soaring raw materials prices.
Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wbcassidy_joc