Freight Capacity dipped 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, down 1.1 percent year over year as freight supply and demand found a balance at the end of 2011. Combined tractor count was down only 1.4 percent over the last two years, but was still down 7.6 percent since the end of 2008.
Only a handful of major carriers added capacity in the last quarter, putting added pressure on freight rates as demand begins to strengthen going into 2012. Overall capacity is down 15.6 percent from the end of 2006 through the end of 2011. The deepest plummet occurred between 2008 and 2009, where combined tractor count dropped 6.9 and 6.3 percent. Compared to 2010 and 2011 where capacity dropped only 0.3 and 1.1 last year, showing that the truckload demand and supply are finally coming to equilibrium in 2012.