FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for August increased from July to a reading of 6.76. The TCI is continuing a steady rise that is expected throughout 2017, as new regulations tighten capacity resulting in better pricing and margins for trucking companies. This improvement is largely from the supply side, as currently the economy and freight markets are in a slow growth phase with unclear direction typical of a late recovery environment. The TCI is expected to peak in early 2018.
“The July and August increases in the Trucking Conditions Index were led by positive changes in capacity utilization and fuel prices. Fuel prices look to have stabilized during the fall and are unlikely to have a big impact on transportation markets until oil prices move substantially away from $50 per barrel,” said FTR Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Starks. “Also, despite the weak reports from the public TL carriers, utilization of the overall fleet is showing some moderate improvement. This trend is likely to be subdued until mid-2017 when we get close to the implementation data for electronic logging devices.
“The third quarter is likely to be the nadir for weak reports, and we should begin to see economic improvement, easier year-over-year comparisons and better overall market conditions as capacity tightens up due to regulations. Spot market conditions are beginning to affirm this, with the dry van market on Truckstop.com showing positive year-over-year comparisons for both load volumes and rates.”
Details of the August TCI are found in the October issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published September 30. The “Notes by the Dashboard Light” commentary in the current issue suggests caution in spite of currently strong economic indicators. Along with the TCI and “Notes by the Dashboard Light,” Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, cost, and the truck driver situation.