ACT’s most recent For-Hire Trucking Index shows a tight trucking market, with continuing increases in volume and rates, but with driver availability worsening.
On the positive side, September’s volume index increased to 70.7 (SA) and pricing reached a two-year high of 71.3. But, capacity and driver availability are decreasing, at 46.6 and 30.6, respectively, and the current combo of strong demand and tight supply has pushed the supply-demand balance to its tightest level in survey history — 74.1 — according to ACT.
“As capacity tightened further, volume (demand) also accelerated, tightening the market balance even further from already tight levels in recent months,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst. “Class 8 retail sales have improved recently, suggesting equipment capacity will gradually start to grow over the next few quarters, but the ongoing driver market capacity constraints argue for tightness to continue in the near-term.”
He went on to note that after the holiday season, there might be some rebalancing “as parked trucks are redeployed and extended unemployment benefits expire.”
The current strong demand due to the need to restock stores should lead to a fairly tight market in the near-term, according to Denoyer, with supply and demand finding a balance into the medium term.