JOC | US truckers: Strong Demand a Bulwark Against Uncertainty

02.09.17 | Bill Mongelluzzo, JOC

Motor carriers say they can handle pending safety regulations, new technologies, and the uncertainties surrounding the Trump administration - as long as capacity utilization and freight volumes remain relatively strong this year.

“I’m concerned about regulations, but is the economy generating freight - that is the big question,” Eric Starks, chairman and chief executive of FTR Transportation Intelligence, said at the annual National Industrial Transportation League transportation summit in San Diego this week.

In fact, Starks indicated that if regulations such as the federal requirement for electronic logging devices reduce capacity somewhat in today’s tight market, freight rates could increase. Also, technological advances could lead to improved productivity and better management of assets, which will help truckers. “If the economy is hitting on all cylinders down the road, capacity will be a big problem. Will technology and data help us deal with these problems?” he said.

Market conditions indicate that freight volumes and spot rates are higher than last year at this time, according to DAT Solutions pricing analyst Mark Montague. The dry van load-to-truck ratio in January was 76 percent higher than in January 2016, Montague said in an analysis of the truckload spot market Tuesday.

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Follow Eric Starks on Twitter: @ericmstarks

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