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Freight Waves | More and More Truckers are Saying They’re Running out of Capacity

02.07.18 | Gene Marks

Should we be concerned? Truckers seem to be running out of room.

That seems to be the takeaway from this year’s State of the North American Supply Chain study from transportation company Averitt Express. The report, which polled 1,600 shippers in late 2017, found that diminishing truck capacity is the industry’s “primary hurdle” this coming year. Last year, about 20 percent of truckers faced capacity issues, a rate that doubled from 2016.

What about driver shortages that continue to plague the industry? No one seems to have a great answer for that. Trucking companies are doing what they can to provide competitive wages and, more importantly, a better quality of life to attract new drivers. Oddly, I found no reference in the report about the growing investments by large trucking manufacturers in autonomous transportation vehicles as a way to increase capacity and reduce driver hours - a trend that will bear watching in the future.

For most businesses that ship products, all of this seems to be pointing toward potentially higher freight costs in 2018. However, there could, according to one analyst, be a potential silver lining: taxes. “Between the rates increases and the new tax relief, we believe that those will more than offset the rising costs in the near term at least,” Avery Vise, vice president of trucking research at FTR Transportation Intelligence said in another Fleet Owner report.

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