The Journal of Commerce Truckload Capacity Index rose 0.3 percentage points to 84.4 in the second quarter, as a slower economy depressed freight demand.
Also, four of the publicly owned truckload carriers in the index group monitored by The Journal of Commerce increased their tractor counts in the second quarter.
The index reading shows capacity to be in the “tenuous equilibrium” cited by many shippers and carriers in the period, JOC Senior Editor William B. Cassidy said.
“The index is down about 2 percent from a year ago, which shows that truckload carriers still are not really rebuilding capacity lost in the recession,” he said.
Compared with the first quarter, “The general slowdown in the economy appears to be freeing up a small amount of existing capacity,” he said.
The index has ranged between 86.2 and 84.1 since the first quarter of 2009, after plunging 5.4 percentage points from the end of 2008 and the global financial crisis.
The index is based on actual end-of-quarter tractor counts at a group of publicly owned truckload carriers with combined revenue of more than $10 billion.
Tractor counts at those companies increased a miniscule amount, 0.3 percent, in the quarter, keeping capacity basically flat compared with the first quarter of 2012.
The Journal of Commerce calculates the index by assigning a base value of 100 to the 2006 fourth quarter tractor count of the carriers in the control group.
Overall, those truckload carriers are operating at a capacity level more than 15 percent below their peak tractor count in late 2006.