Weakness reflected in April FTR Trucking Conditions Index

June 16, 2015

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for April fell 9% from the previous month to a relatively modest reading of 6.7. The index weakened primarily due to the suspension of hours of service rules resulting in more available capacity and less pressure on rates. 

Lower fuel prices were a positive impact on the index in April.  The future outlook shows an increasingly positive environment for truckers because of expectations of a tightening market as additional regulatory drag appears leading to a likely capacity crisis in 2017.

Jonathan Starks, FTR’s director of transportation analysis, said: "While still at a reasonably strong level the TCI is indicating a moderating environment for carriers. Rate increases have pulled back over the last couple of months and, although still positive, will lessen year-over-year gains later in the year. Economic indicators still show a slow growth environment for both the economy and for freight. Load board data from Truckstop.com continues to show a return to normal activity following last year’s tight conditions. Shippers' desires to secure capacity should keep contract rates growing, but both contract and spot rates are susceptible to big drops if the economy is unable to accelerate after the weak start to 2015."

Details of the April TCI are found in the June issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published May 31, 2015. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ takes an in-depth look at current freight conditions. 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.