Newly published results from a survey conducted by the trucking consultancy group Transport Capital Partners show increased optimism among trucking executives when it comes to higher freight rates and volumes.

Reflecting a better outlook for the economy at large, coupled with counter seasonal capacity shortages, more and more carriers expect volume increases over the next 12 months. Volume expectations grew from 44% in 4th quarter 2013 to 77% in the first quarter. From this time last year, the increase is 48%.

“The literal mother of all rate increases may be here in 2014, as reflected in our first quarter survey,” said Richard Mikes, survey leader and TCP partner.

Credit: TCP

Credit: TCP

Rate expectations have moved almost in tandem with volume expectations, according to TCP. Four out of five carriers expect rates to increase over the next 12 months, a 62% increase over last quarter.

“Historically, smaller carriers have been the more optimistic about rate increases,” said TCP partner, Steven Dutro.

Almost 60% of carriers in this survey indicated their daily sales outstanding had not increased.

“We expect that as capacity tightens, DSO will continue to reduce,” said Mikes.

TCP notes that spot market rates surged over the last two months, as most annual and longer-term contracts were negotiated.