Truck shortages rates kick in

Truckload capacity shortages will gather momentum this year and continue through 2013 as the economy recovers and regulatory restrictions will limit the driver pool, an FTR Associates economist said Wednesday in an online seminar.Noel Perry, an FTR senior consultant, estimated that because of the economic upturn and the federal government’s push for improved safety “a couple hundred thousand drivers will be taken out of the marketplace between now and the end of next year.” He acknowledged that forecast shortages have been slow to occur and now will likely hit the market in 2012.

Worried Truck Shortage
Perry said trucking is typically slow to respond to an economic recovery. He said if the market doesn’t respond by ordering more equipment to improve productivity, “There will be a bunch of loads that don’t get delivered. That means there will be supply chain failures,” although he does expect the industry to meet the challenge.To date truckload rate increases haven’t materialized as anticipated, Perry said, because the industry achieved productivity gains last year, which enabled companies to absorb additional freight without adding equipment and drivers. That period has passed and the market has tightened.In response to a question, Perry said current strong new truck orders are primarily to replace aging equipment and not adding to capacity. However, he said if his forecast of higher rates is accurate, he anticipates a “considerable expansion by the industry in 2012 and 2013.”