BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for December rebounded after a one-month lull in November to a strong 9.2 reading, reflecting a full capacity environment driven by continued strength in freight demand.
FTR expects the index to remain elevated and even increase further in 2018.
Trucking capacity is essentially maxed out, resulting in the strongest freight rates in years.
Details of the December TCI are found in the February issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published January 31.
The “Notes by the Dashboard Light” section in the current issue takes a close look at the owner-operator market.
The Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.
“Fleets have been running very efficiently the past few years, with capacity utilization in the high 90 percent range,” said Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer at FTR. “Couple this efficiency with increases in freight volumes and productivity hits due to weather and regulations, and it’s no surprise to the industry that the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 have been good for carriers. We are seeing robust orders for trucks and trailers, serious recruitment drives, and the type of rate increases which make these expenditures feasible. In terms of the overall economy and freight demand, we are looking at strong potential for further upside possibilities for carriers.”
The Trucking Conditions Index tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the U.S. truck market. These conditions are: freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price, and financing. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence fleet behavior. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem, while readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.
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