The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed the freight component of the index rising faster than the capacity component, boosting the spread to a level not seen since early 2014.
The data suggests that the process of rebalancing capacity that started in the second half of 2016 accelerated in early 2017.
“Hopefully, January’s readings represent a sustainable improvement in freight creation as rising commodity prices boost investment and lead to increased demand for machinery,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “Of course, as the move was such a strong deviation from the trend, some of January’s high-side surprise may be related to longer plant shutdowns in December as inventories continued to be rebalanced.”
Both the volume and productivity indexes saw improvement, rising to levels last seen in early 2014. The volume reading soared almost 23 points from December to 67.7. The rise in freight volumes triggered a sympathetic rise in the productivity index, which climbed 14 points to 61.3 in January.
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