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Freight rates, truck sales depressed by excess capacity, indexes report

May 15, 2016 at 06:40 AM CST

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Excess capacity continued to dog trucking in April, according to two barometers that track the industry.

Analyst firm ACT Research Co. LLC reported yesterday that the supply of Class 8 trucks continues to rise faster than demand for trucks, according to its most recent For-Hire Trucking Index.

And the Truckload Linehaul Index from Cass Information Systems Inc. of St. Louis, which tracks per-mile truckload pricing, declined another 2.3 percent from April 2015 after falling 0.6 percent in March. Analyst firm Avondale Partners indicated that several factors continue to contribute to excess capacity, thus driving down rates, including driver pay increases, overall fleet growth, reduction in carrier bankruptcies and an easing of the 34-hour restart rule.

Data within the index is derived from actual freight invoices paid on behalf of Cass’ clients, which totaled $25 billion in 2015, Cass reported. The index isolates the linehaul component of full truckload costs from other components, providing an accurate reflection of trends in baseline truckload prices, the company said.

“For an eighth consecutive month the fleet capacity index has risen faster than the freight index,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “In fact, in the past year, only once has the reverse been true. In addition to overcapacity relative to current freight activity, a widespread inventory overhang is compounding the problem,” he said. Fleets in the survey also noted that freight continues to be soft, without the usual April uptick, Vieth added.

ACT publishes new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market, the company stated.

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