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CCJ | Hurricanes, ELDs and Capacity: Perfect Storm for Capacity Crunch and Rates Boost?

09.20.17 | James Jaillet, CCJ

Trucking freight dynamics will shift, perhaps dramatically, in the coming months as recovery and rebuilding efforts in Texas and Florida take shape following massive blows from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Such a shift will challenge the trucking industry’s capacity, particularly for the flatbed segment, and will likely drive up rates both on the spot market and contract market.

That was the message from a panel of carrier, shipper and economic experts who spoke in a session at the FTR Conference in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Panelists included John Larkin, managing director of Stifel; Annette Sandberg, former administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and current head of compliance consulting firm TransSafe; Steve Wutke, VP of sales at Prime Inc.; Ron Guzzi, transportation manager for The Home Depot; and Meredith Neizer of third-party logistics provider Armada.

Hurricane recovery efforts will increase freight demand, which will pull trucks out of their normal cycle. That shift in freight patterns combined with the crimp of productivity likely associated with the coming electronic logging device mandate deadline could prompt a capacity crisis.

“2018 is gonna be a really nasty year” for trucking capacity, said economist Noel Perry of FTR and Truckstop.com. Perry moderated the hour-long panel. He predicts a major capacity crunch, due to the impacts of the storms and adoption of electronic logging devices, to land sometime between March and July.

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