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Three bullet points about LTL pricing and long-term capacity. As shown in the chart below, fuel prices and Yellow’s exit have produced an increase in LTL pricing. However, how long it lasts is another question…

1.  Yellow Freight’s Impact: The demise of Yellow Freight in August took 10% of industry capacity offline, which provided a backstop against the price erosion seen over the last 12 months. However, the distribution of its market share has not been uniform. Carriers with more pricing and footprint overlap have benefited more, with Saia and XPO being notable gainers among public companies.

2. Pricing and Capacity: The worries about overcapacity have been somewhat allayed by Yellow’s exit. Carriers are trying to hold the line on GRIs and are more aggressively going after rate increases on less profitable customers. However, the tea leaves are not looking positive for LTL volumes to increase meaningfully in the near-term – ISM new orders are still in contraction territory (though it’s improving from earlier this year). We see a balanced pricing environment in the LTL space in the coming months.

3. Terminal Capacity: Longer term, terminal capacity in the industry remains constrained due to significant inflation in real estate prices. Carriers have been cautious in expanding, and the sale of Yellow’s real estate portfolio is expected to take time and require renovation. Net fixed capacity in the industry is believed to be declining. As e-commerce increases and (hopefully) the economy improves, terminal capacity could become a bottleneck leading to higher LTL rates in 2024 / 2025.

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics Data