Trucking companies in January ordered the most new big rigs in nearly 12 years, as they hustled to take advantage of one of the hottest freight markets in recent memory.
A nationwide shortage of available trucks has sent shipping costs soaring, with retailers and manufacturers in some cases paying over 30% above typical rates to book last-minute transportation for cargo. Trucking companies, buoyed by strong demand and flush with cash following the recent tax overhaul, are accelerating plans to replace or expand their fleets.
The arrival of more trucks could stabilize the freight market, helping shippers. But relief could be months away. Many trucks ordered in January won’t be delivered until the second half of the year, and fleets are having trouble recruiting enough drivers to fill seats in their existing big rigs.