Slowing growth in freight tonnage has given trucking companies a chance to “work off” some of the record driver shortages seen in 2004, according to transportation research firm FTR Associates.

The company predicts that driver shortages will diminish, ending 2005 with a shortfall of 33,000 drivers— just over a tenth of the estimated cumulative shortage of 300,000 during 2003/2004. However, an upturn in freight demand would reverse this trend, FTR noted.

So far, there are no indications that tonnage growth will accelerate in the foreseeable future.

See February job growth bodes well for trucking.

For more information on FTR’s Driver Labor Index, visit www.ftrassociates.net.