Shippers can expect more upward pressure on truck pricing through the fall as available capacity tightens, according to research firm FTR Associates.
FTR’s Shippers Condition Index for March improved slightly from February, rising from -5.6 to -5.3, the Nashville, Ind.-based research firm said Monday.
A reading below 0 indicates “unfavorable” conditions for shippers. Unfavorable in this case means trucking operators have the upper hand in price negotiations.
“After a steep drop in February, the SCI stabilized in March as conditions in the trucking industry steadied,” said Larry Gross, senior consultant at FTR.
But FTR expects tight capacity, the effect of new regulations and rising operating costs will push truck rates higher as freight demand rises through the fall.
“Shippers can expect further fall off in their position with carriers as their options become more limited and costs increase,” the research firm said in a statement.
Truck freight demand was unexpectedly strong in February, Gross said, as shippers took advantage of mild weather to move some freight earlier in the year.
The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index showed truckload rates rising at a slower year-over-year pace in March, 7.4 percent, and 6.9 percent in April.