The Road Ahead in 2015: Rates May Rise Again

Freight rates should be declining. After all, fuel costs continue to drop, as crude oil prices have fallen from $130 to under $50 per barrel in less than a year. Hours of Service (HOS) rules have been rolled back to 2013, at least until September. The HOS rollback is expected to restore from 5% to 7% of fleet productivity that was lost due to restrictions on the timing of drivers’ restarts and breaks. Carriers are finally expanding their fleets, resulting in record sales of Class 8 trucks. Those factors combine to ease truckload capacity, exerting downward pressure on rates.

On the other hand, the driver shortage is not going away, and large fleets