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US Trucking Market Outpaces US Economy as Capacity Tightens

Trucking is providing one of the few bright spots to the flagging U.S. economy as tight capacity and a driver shortage push contract and spot rates higher across vans, flatbeds and refrigerated trucks, reports Transport Topics.

DAT Solutions said van spot load rates in September were up 28.8% compared with a year ago. They have continued to rise in October and now average $2.46 per mile, a 9-cent increase since the beginning of the month. Flatbed rates are up 9.9% year-over-year and have jumped a nickel in the past two weeks, also to $2.46 a mile. Refrigerated rates are up 19% year-over-year — and 3 cents in the past two weeks — to $2.60 per mile.

Bob Costello, chief economist at American Trucking Associations, told Transport Topics capacity in the industry is as tight as it has been in years.

“Parts of trucking are doing very well,” he said. “On the supply side, there are a number of factors that have come together that each of them on their own would not have caused a tight capacity situation, but taken together they are causing things to tighten.”

Costello said an undetermined number of fleets closed early on because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and those that are continuing to operate are likely running with fewer trucks.

“The spot markets are very strong because there is a lot of spillover freight, Costello said. “Contract freight is up, but I think capacity has a much bigger impact on this issue.”

Full TT story here.

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