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Transportation rates buck deregulation

Even deregulation can't stop the rising transportation rate tide, according to Purchasing Magazine. Deregulation and the resulting competition will temper freight rate hikes, but increases will still run at double-digit levels for 1981, the magazine predicts.

Purchasing Magazine's freight rate forecast for the year:

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* Trucks. Truckload rates will increase 9.5 to 11 percent overall. The increase won't be as high where competition is strong or wherever new truckload service is available.

* Rails. Rail rates will climb 10 to 12 percent during the year. Rates for traditionally low-rate commodities, which rails claim they are now hauling at a loss or at little or no profit, will increase more sharply -- possibly 15 to 20 percent.

* Oceangoing. The magazine predicts a 10 percent increase in ocean cargo rates. Overtonnage in world shipping is keeping prices down.

* Inland waterways. Purchasing forecasts a 12 to 15 percent rate increase during 1981.

* Airfreight. Rates could go up as much as 15 percent. Airline deregulation has increased competition. Airfreight forwarders are taking a more aggressive, innovative role and commuter airlines are upping their share of the market in line with their increasing role in passenger travel. But higher fuel costs are almost a sure bet in the months ahead, and they will be reflected in freight rate inc rease.

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