May 6, 2014
FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) in March rose more than one point to a reading of 8.69, reflecting the extremely tight capacity in the Truckload sector.
There is a possibility for some relief of the tight truckload capacity over the next few months if freight growth slows as expected in the second quarter. The stressed supply situation of today is caused, primarily, by regulatory drag on shipping capacity along with the winter disruptions. The TCI for the remainder of 2014 is expected to remain at the same level, as trucking capacity will stay tight.
“Truckers should be feeling much better now that they have finally been able to use the ever tightening truck supply to get much needed rate gains,” Jonathan Starks, FTR’s Director of Transportation Analysis, says. “It looks like much of the supply-and-demand balance is coming back down to a more ‘normal’ level as shippers are finishing their spring freight season and the backlog of loads caused by the winter weather has largely subsided. ‘Normal’ remains a relative term since the industry continues to be operating at much higher levels of utilization than we have seen in the past. Recent data shows a strong uptick in economic activity, but it will be hard to know if we are merely playing catch-up from a bad Q1 or if there is some real sustained growth occurring.”
Details of the March TCI Index are found in the May issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published last month. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ commentary discusses the impact of the overall economy and how it affects trucking. Beginning in 2014, theTrucking Update includes new data and analysis on the truck driver situation. This will be a permanent addition to the report and greatly enhances the value of the service.