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Supply Chain Dive | New Heavy-Duty Truck Orders Hit Highest Level in Over a Decade

02.14.18 | Jennifer McKevitt, Supply Chain Dive

The convergence of capacity shortages with new laws is having a serious impact on the trucking industry.

Industry pundits have warned of a coming capacity crisis for months, affecting not only 3PLs, but manufacturers who were already generating greater output even before the new tax laws came into play.

Ripples are appearing all throughout the industry; increased truck orders are a symptom, experts say.

"Capacity utilization is near 100%, so carriers see the opportunity to acquire additional business by expanding their fleets," Avery Vise, vice president of trucking research at FTR, told Supply Chain Dive.

Spot market rates are likely to feel the impact of additional vehicle purchases, as well.

"We expect that active truck utilization will remain high throughout the year and that spot-market rates will remains strong as well," Vise said. "The economy is growing faster than expected, and this is creating more freight than expected."

As a result, change is unlikely to come soon.

"Even with fleet growth, capacity will remain fairly tight because of strong freight demand," Vise said. "However, the commitment to buy additional trucks will also place even greater stress on the very tight supply of drivers. We expect driver wages and incentives to continue to grow through the year. Fortunately, the recent tax reform package provides some resources for carriers to do that."

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