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Capacity issues continue to affect the trucking sector

Truck industry capacity is expected to remain tight through 2006 and 2007, according to FTR Associates, a transportation research firm.

The continued strength in manufacturing and freight-producing sectors of the economy has led to strong truck use. The Class 8 usage rate has exceeded 90% over the last nine quarters while historically averaging 88%.

FTR forecasts total ton-miles to grow 2.1% in 2006, with the modal share for trucks expected to increase to 44.8% in 2006 and 45.3% in 2007.

“Truck capacity is as tight as we’ve seen in recent memory,” says Eric Starks, president of FTR Associates. “In this environment, freight carriers have been able to aggressively raise rates. While this is good for the trucking industry, it is countered in large measure by the escalating costs to operate. In addition to rising fuel, interest and equipment costs, driver wages will continue to rise as a substantial shortage persists. We are currently estimating that there is a driver shortage of 87,000 drivers.”

Additional details about truck capacity utilization, the labor situation and other trends affecting the transportation industry are available through a new publication jointly offered by FTR Associates and Informa Economics, Inc. A sample issue of the Transportation, Logistics and Fuel Report and the Weekly Fuel Monitor Service can be accessed at . For for more information, contact Doug Starks at FTR Associates, (888) 988-1699.

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