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FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index Drops in March, Remains in Carrier-Favorable Environment

05.15.18 | FTR

 
FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for March dropped from the previous month of 15.41 to a reading of 10.30. This is, however, not indicative of any fundamental change in the current freight demand climate. Indeed, y/y the Trucking Conditions Index remains more than triple the 2017 reading of 2.97. The carrier-favorable environment is not expected to see any real change at least through 2018 with even more positive conditions during the second and third quarter.  FTR forecasts conditions for carriers stabilizing at a high level into 2019 as fleets continue to add capacity and the supply-chain adjusts to the ELD regulation.

Details of the March TCI are found in the May issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published April 27, 2018. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section in the current issue includes an in-depth analysis of the flatbed transportation segment. Along with the TCI and ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light,’ the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.

Click here to view the latest release and an interactive graph of the TCI >


Jonathan Starks,  Chief Intelligence Officer at FTR, commented, “While diesel prices increases are a negative for the carriers, the relatively modest uptick in recent fuel costs is more than offset by significant gains in pricing and overall strong demand for transportation. The Market Demand Index published by Truckstop.com and FTR shows that the spot market is once again tightening, rising each of the last four weeks to 58.1 in week 18. It is likely to hit new record highs as we approach the summer shipping season at the end of May.” 




Avery Vise, Vice President of trucking research added, “The latest data suggests that the capacity crunch has stabilized somewhat following the electronic logging device implementation, but it certainly has not abated. The most recent jobs report serves as a warning that carriers might find adding capacity tougher in the months ahead, an outcome that could help maintain margins but limit revenue opportunities.”


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.
 

For more information on how to subscribe to Trucking Update, or other publications within FTR's Freight Focus, send an email to sales@ftrintel.com  or call (888) 988-1699 ext. 1 and follow us on Twitter @FTRintel.

Trucking Update, published monthly, is part of FTR’s Freight Focus and reports data that directly impacts the activity and profitability of truck fleets. As part of Trucking Update, FTR forecasts expected trends in this data and the probable short and long term consequences.
 
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About FTR
For more than two decades, FTR has been the thought leader in freight transportation forecasting in North America. The company’s national award-winning forecasters collect and analyze all data likely to impact freight movement, issuing consistently reliable reports for trucking, rail, and intermodal transportation as well as providing demand analysis for commercial vehicle and railcar. FTR’s forecasting and specially designed reports have resulted in advanced planning and cost-savings for companies throughout the transportation sector.