Bob Bowman at Forbes.com on the unusually strong spot market for truckload freight:
But the biggest factor behind the rate rise was a strengthening economy, across multiple sectors. Demand for trucks in the energy business didn’t drop off in the fourth quarter, driven by a continuing need for fracking and drilling equipment. Beginning in August, grain production returned to normal levels, generating increased shipments of meat products and animal feed. Produce levels were strong, especially for potatoes, which experienced a late harvest. Factory output, particularly in the automotive industry, was relatively high.
David Schrader and Mark Montague of DAT said just about every sector of the economy is normal or above normal in terms of spot freight.
Empty miles rose in 2012 but are expected to have declined for 2013. As a result, Bowman writes, truckers can focus on the most profitable hauls.
Said Schrader: “When loads become more plentiful, and capacity tightens, carriers have the luxury of choice.”