Freight transportation capacity has been subject to enormous pressure from a number of sources for a little more than a year, leading to higher rates and even jeopardizing some long-standing business relationships.

That’s according to a new white paper from DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, that looks at this trend and what’s behind it.

Aimed at logistics managers, the white paper is entitled "Truckload Capacity in 2014: What’s Causing the Capacity Crunch and What Can Shippers Do About it?" In addition to examining what has caused a shortage of trucks, it also explores how the shortage of truck capacity has affected spot freight rates, as well as contract freight rates, and which market indicators shippers can use to better understand future supply and demand conditions, according to DAT.

The paper also outlines how shippers can harness "big data" to prepare for volatility in the transportation market and forecast truckload capacity and rates on North American lanes.

“Transportation and logistics managers have begun to harness “big data” in new ways, as the necessary computing power and expertise are increasingly available and economical,” wrote Don Thornton, DAT Senior VP, author of the white paper. “Data from the company’s own history is used to build operational models of costs, revenues, opportunities and challenges associated with transportation and logistics choices. Managers then apply different variables to create scenarios that help them with forecasting and contingency planning.”

The 11-page free paper is available on the DAT Solutions website.