A key measure of truckload demand jumped 18.9 percent week over week in early March, signaling tightening capacity as the nation and the economy warm up.
Longbow Research's Truckload Barometer rose to 164.5 for the week ending March 11 from 138.4 the prior week, hitting its highest level since mid-2010.
The research firm's barometer measures the amount of available freight relative to current levels of available equipment, climbing as capacity gets tighter.
Year-over-year, the barometer is up 97.2 percent, and the index has risen 49.7 percent since the beginning of 2011, the investment research firm said Wednesday.
The index, which rose sharply in February, had dipped in recent weeks although it remained higher than in January, warning of a potential capacity shortfall.
In late February, truckload capacity was hardest to find in the Southeastern coastal states from Delaware to Florida, according to Longbow Research.
The March spike in part stems from the start of the produce season in the Southeast, which consumes available truckload capacity, Longbow Research said.
Longbow's Flatbed Barometer also climbed, rising 2.9 percent week-over-week in its eighth consecutive weekly increase to its highest level in two years.
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