The latest release of ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed an uptick in volume, pricing and productivity. The Volume Index rose to 49.0 in March, from 47.1 in February, and pricing rose slightly to 49.3, from 48.9, both still in negative territory. The supply-demand balance was loose for the fifth consecutive month, but improved to 46.7 in March, from 42.7 in February.
“Industry conditions improved in March relative to February, partly on better weather, but both pricing and volumes continued to fall,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst. “Equipment utilization picked up nicely to 50.6, after dropping to 43.0 in February.
“Higher volume and lower capacity additions helped the supply-demand balance improve sequentially, but it remained under the neutral level of 50,” he added. “We see the supply-demand balance remaining loose until freight improves, capacity tightens, or both. Capacity is unlikely to tighten soon given purchase intentions.”
The March fleet purchase intentions reading indicated a marked step up in equipment demand, with 66.2% of respondents planning to buy trucks in the next three months, up from 55.6%, seasonally adjusted, in February.