Trucking capacity is indeed tight, according to the third-quarter 2014 Fleet Sentiment Report survey conducted in July by CK Commercial Vehicle Research.

Reported vehicle utilization rates along with responses to questions regarding a fleet’s capacity vs. demand ratio, indicate that there is little available capacity for new freight among the survey participants, explain the researchers. Capacity is primarily constrained by the inability of fleets to grow their driver pool and many reported they would add equipment if they could hire qualified drivers. 

CKCVR’s Q3 2014 FSR Buying Index fell to a reading of 83.3, primarily impacted by a smaller percentage of fleets planning to purchase equipment in the next three months. This index measures the number of fleets planning to buy trucks and trailers as well as the expected volume of those orders. However, the unit volume measure of the planned orders was positive in quarter over quarter and year over year comparisons.

Increasing number of fleets adding some capacity but most units are still for replacement.

Survey respondents reported good business conditions overall. 

Because of the tightening capacity environment, a number of survey questions centered around increasing productivity – what the fleets are doing themselves and what they would like manufacturers to do to help them. There were some general categories into which most of the answers fit:

Operations/logistics (less deadhead, route optimization, etc.) 37%

Equipment (higher use of day cabs/slip seat operations, increasing cargo capacity, etc.) 24%

Driver (paying more, assessing hours of service to increase on-duty time, etc.) 18%

 Maintenance improvement (such as doing more maintenance in-house so trucks don't sit at dealership) 11%

Add technology (such as GPS, trailer tracking) 5%

Add freight 5%

The Q3 Fleet Sentiment Report includes additional feedback from fleets on how they are improving productivity in the current tight environment. 

CK Commercial Vehicle Research is a business of CK Marketing & Communications located in Columbus, Ohio. CKCVR surveys fleet advisors representing a mix of large, medium and small for-hire, private and government fleet operations.