Fewer trucks + more freight = good news

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It looks like freight is coming back. Or has been back for weeks. Some off-the-record conversations I’ve had with industry leaders in the last few weeks confirm that, as does other evidence.

Internet Truckstop’s latest Market Demand Index report this week exceeded 7, meaning that carriers have more leverage with price than do shippers or brokers. It was the first time the index was in that zone since July 2008.

“Load availability and truck demand are going to continue to increase and I would not be surprised to see the MDI reach double digits by the summer,” says Joel McGinley of  Internet Truckstop. â€śThe freight market in the truckload sector is realizing greater demand for two reasons: Freight tonnage is increasing and there are fewer trucks in the market. Truck capacity began to decline in August of 2007 and has continued since then.”

In today’s Weekly Economic Recap, American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello notes that February marked the second consecutive monthly year-over-year increase in manufacturing production. Year-over-year change had been negative for almost two years.

A front-page story in the current issue of ATA’s Transport Topics, citing some executives from leading carriers, echoes McGinley’s comments: “Truck Availability Shrinking As Freight Demand Increases.”

If you’re wondering about the impact of this for your operation, including the rates you should expect as things heat up even more, stay tuned. Overdrive’s webinar series will address this in our June installment, “The emerging driver shortage.” Check www.TruckerWebinars.com later for details.

And if you missed the very informative webinar we did this week on CSA 2010 with Schneider National Vice President Don Osterberg, go to “Archive” on the same site for a free download of that one-hour presentation.