There’s a transportation boom going on in the United States, supported by a stronger economy, regulatory changes, and shifts in consumer shopping habits. This is lifting the trucking and railroad sectors, and even some domestic maritime freight companies.

After years of so-so growth, the US economic engine is accelerating to a point where second quarter 2018 GDP is expected to exceed 4%. Meanwhile, recent tax cuts and a robust job market have given consumers more confidence to spend. Indeed, U.S. retail sales just posted its biggest gain in six months. Consequently, trucking companies are racing to keep up with surging demand for freight services, as factories bulk up production and retailers build up stocks. This surge in demand is met with supply constraints. A federal law went into effect this Spring that effectively limits the number of hours and miles a driver can log behind the wheel each day. The tightening capacity and a severe shortage of drivers is pushing freight rates higher. Meanwhile, the new GOP tax law gives them more cash for capital spending and to add capacity . . .

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