The quarterly Journal of Commerce Truckload Capacity Index fell 1.3 percentage points to a preliminary reading of 82.4 in the fourth quarter of 2012. Available truckload capacity decreased as truck tonnage and demand increased.
JOC Truckload Capacity Index
That means available capacity at the group of large, publicly owned truckload carriers tracked by the JOC is about 17 percent below its peak in 2006. The index uses capacity levels from the fourth quarter of that year as its base value.
The index has ranged between 83.7 and 86.2 since the end of 2009, after plummeting 5.4 percentage points from the end of 2008. Overall, capacity at the truckload carrier group tracked by the JOC dropped 2.3 percent year-over-year.
The preliminary reading — the lowest for the JOC index in four years — indicates truckload carriers continue to carefully manage their fleets as they strive to get better utilization, higher pricing and greater profit using existing equipment.
Only one of the truckload carriers in the JOC group increased capacity year-over-year, though several increased capacity slightly from the third quarter as demand rose. The index is based on actual end-of-the-quarter tractor counts.
Truckload linehaul rates climbed throughout the fourth quarter, according to Cass Information Systems, rising 1.4 percent in November and December from the previous month and 2.7 percent and 3.4 percent year-over-year.