UTS Blog

Transportation Rate Forecast for 2019

Oct, 19 2018
2019 Forecast

LTL Rates

  • Linehaul rates have increased 4.5% annually over the last five years.
  • Rate inflation is accelerating, with rates up 6.1% in 2018.
  • Carriers are further raising rates by expanding accessorials and density pricing rules.
  • Capacity utilization is near 100%. There is simply no slack to absorb growing demand.
  • Capacity is not keeping pace with demand as carriers struggle to add trucks.*

UTS FORECAST: LTL linehaul rates will increase 4-6% in 2019 and could climb even faster if demand continues to exceed supply for an extended period.

*Carriers can buy more trucks, but an acute driver shortage means they don’t have anyone to drive them. Meanwhile, new regulations have reduced the number of hours that current drivers spend on the road.

Truckload Rates

  • The TL market is experiencing the same supply/demand imbalance plaguing LTL.
  • Spot rates are higher than contract rates, indicating very tight capacity nationwide.
  • The Cass Truckload Index has been positive for 18 months in a row and is accelerating, which signals higher rates in the months ahead.
  • Carriers are getting double-digit increases in contracted rate negotiations.

UTS FORECAST: Truckload linehaul rates will increase 7-9% in 2019.

Air, Ocean & Rail Rates

A more balanced supply/demand scenario portends smaller rate increases in 2019 for:

  • Air: 2-3% on the Atlantic side, 3-4% on the Pacific side
  • Ocean: 2-4% on the Atlantic side, 3-5% on the Pacific side
  • Rail: 2-3%

Here at Universal Traffic Service, we continue to leverage our people, services, and technologies to help you navigate this challenging transportation environment. We continuously monitor carrier performance and pricing to find the best value for your transportation dollar.