BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Conditions remained tight for U.S. shippers in February, with the FTR Shippers Conditions Index reflecting an unfavorable environment.
Regulatory pressures coupled with slowly increasing capacity in a hot freight market, put upward pressure on rates, FTR reports. Freight growth didn’t soften during the first quarter as it usually does.
FTR says its truck loadings index is expected to see 4-6% growth year-over-year into 2019. A continued capacity crunch in the truckload segment could see more freight pushed to LTL, which would add more costs to shippers.
“Shippers remain in the throes of a pro-carrier environment. Every major indicator of demand – manufacturing, payroll employment, retail sales, housing construction – is at least at the strongest level since the Great Recession. Unemployment is at a 17-year low, and the driver shortage continues to create capacity constraints,” said Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer of FTR.
“Rates on the spot market continue to remain elevated, and we don’t expect to see any significant downward rate pressure – whether spot or contract – until at least 2019. Shippers should not expect to get near-term relief from spot rates that are at or near record levels. Securing capacity at a reasonably higher price remains the key challenge for shippers.”