So far this year, truckload companies have encountered a "very positive environment" for rates, according to FTR.
Analyzing its recently released January Trucking Conditions Index
, FTR said capacity will likely remain tight in the near future because of regulatory drag; January's index reflected a "belated improvement in truckload rates that began last summer with Hours of Service changes," the firm said.
Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis at FTR, said weather also played a factor in keeping rates up and that if a storm were to occur right as the shipping season ramps up at the end of March, another rate increase could be in the cards.
“While freight certainly took a hit to start 2014 numerous other indicators are positive for the industry and line up with our expectations for the remainder of the year. Namely, the capacity situation for trucking was highlighted when the severe weather hit and capacity shortages started occurring," Starks said in a statement. "These shortages illustrate that the industry has been operating with much less surge capacity available than in the past, and spot market pricing responded and has stayed elevated through much of February."