Shippers hoping that truck rate increases might fall in the face of an uncertain economy are likely to be disappointed, according to FTR Associates.
The research group dropped its Shipper Conditions Index for July to -3.8, a sign that truck pricing increased this summer even as the economy came close to stalling. The current level of freight demand has “completely utilized” available capacity, leaving little room for even modest increases in activity, FTR said Wednesday.
“The result is higher freight rates even in the face of the soft economy,” said Larry Gross, senior consultant. “We expect this situation to persist into next year.”
Spot market freight demand increased 4.5 percent from July to August, according to TransCore Freight Solutions. Freight volume typically falls in that period.
Trucking companies such as Swift Transportation, U.S. Xpress and Landstar are reporting strong or stable demand and rising rates in the third quarter. Swift Transportation said its rates were up 4 percent year-over-year in the first two months third quarter, and the carrier expects a 4 percent overall increase in 2011.