ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index pointed to the strongest rates in April since it began tracking the data, despite some easing of freight volumes.
The supply-demand balance remained tight, ACT reported, but is beginning to show signs of rebalancing.
“The Volume Index decelerated in April, after surging to a five-month high in March. Some of the strength was make-up for the polar vortex-impacted February level, but this slower growth also likely reflects ongoing supply constraints and the deepening semiconductor shortage,” said Tim Denoyer, vice-president and senior analyst.
“And with both driver and equipment capacity in short supply, we are witnessing the strongest rate environment in survey history, even with a bit slower volumes.”
As Covid restrictions continue to be eased, the driver shortage could improve and spending habits may shift back towards services rather than goods, which could bring some balance to the trucking landscape.
“The supply chain constraints imply pent-up demand is still building, and the near-term freight volume outlook remains very positive,” Denoyer said. “This should keep the market tight, but we expect the rebalancing trend to continue in the medium-term. The risks are that substitution back to service spending gradually cools the freight volume environment and that the eventual end of extended unemployment insurance helps driver availability improve.”
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