Truck capacity, which not long ago was so abundant shippers could pick and choose among carriers and rates, is now at its tightest since 2018, if not tighter, truckload carrier executives say. They’re warning shippers to expect “low-level double-digit” rate increases in 2021, arguing rate hikes are needed to support additional wage increases for drivers.
The lack of sufficient truck drivers to seat tractors is the key factor driving up truckload rates, David Jackson, president and CEO of Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings, told JOC.com. Jackson and other truckload carrier executives say higher rates are needed to increase driver pay, to attract more drivers and, in turn, create the additional capacity shippers want.
The average number of tractors fielded by Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation, the company’s primary subsidiaries, dropped 2.3 percent year over year in the quarter to 18,464 units, according to Knight-Swift’s third-quarter earnings report. “You just have a tough time finding a truck that wants to move,” Jackson said in an Oct. 27 interview.