Truckers seem to be running out of room, according to this year’s State of the North American Supply Chain study from transportation company Averitt Express. The report, which polled 1,600 shippers in late 2017, found that diminishing truck capacity is the industry’s “primary hurdle” this coming year. Last year, about 20 percent of truckers faced capacity issues, a rate that doubled from 2016. These are the problems of a growing economy. About 76 percent of freight operators expect their volumes to continue to increase in 2018 but are struggling to meet the demand, particularly because of new electronic logging mandates and a continuing shortage of drivers. This has led to an increase in methods of transport like air and rail. Shippers are “more receptive to our solutions,” said Patrick Ottensmeyer, president and chief executive of the Kansas City Southern rail line told Fleet Owner. “So we feel very comfortable that we’re going to have a good year and that we have a great product out there in the marketplace. ”No one seems to have a solution for the increasing driver shortage. Trucking companies are doing what they can to provide competitive wages and, more importantly, a better quality of life to attract new drivers. All of this seems to be pointing toward higher freight costs in 2018. However, there could, according to one analyst, be a potential silver lining in tax reform. “Between the rates increases and the new tax relief, we believe that those will more than offset the rising costs in the near term at least,” Avery Vise, vice president of trucking research at FTR Transportation Intelligence said in another Fleet Owner report.


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