FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for June Falls Two Plus Points from Previous Month

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for June fell more than two points m/m to a reading of 4.54.  As detailed in the August issue of the Trucking Update, the lower June reading is, in part, a reflection of the increased costs for labor, fuel, and purchased transport for some.  Market tightness is now seen as likely shorter than expected with some resistance to new regulations that could have put an increased drag on capacity.  FTR has a favorable freight forecast for 2017, but does not expect as strong a result in 2018, showing perhaps half the growth and with an increasing risk of recession by the end of the year.

Details of the June TCI are found in the August issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published July 31, 2017.  The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section in the current issue takes a look at the spot market using powerful new analytical tools and data available through FTR’s partnership with Truckstop.  Along with the TCI and ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’, Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.

Jonathan Starks, Chief Operating Officer at FTR, commented, “Despite the monthly drop from May to June, the TCI has stayed in a relatively stable range since this time last year. It remains positive, but does not yet indicate that a significant change in operations is occurring.  The potential for such a change increases as we move through 2018, with ELD implementation and continued freight growth hindering truck capacity. We are also beginning to hear stories of increased difficulty in hiring as the economy begins approaching full employment.”

“The recent strong increases in spot market rates bears a close watch, as it is an early indicator as to how rates in the much bigger contract arena are likely to move.  Spot data in early August shows that the rate increases have hit the double-digit mark and are still moving up. Market participants need to continue evaluating conditions ahead of the ELD implementation in December to make sure that they are prepared for the possible disruptions that could occur”, Starks added.

The Trucking Conditions Index tracks the changes representing six major conditions in the U.S. truck market.  These conditions are: freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fleet bankruptcies, 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.

To access charts suitable to accompany this press release, go to FTR’s website.

Trucking Update, published monthly, is part of FTR’s Freight Focus series and reports data that directly impacts the activity and profitability of truck fleets.  As part of the Trucking Update, FTR forecasts expected trends in this data and the probable short and long term consequences. For more information on how to subscribe to Trucking Update, or other publications within the Freight Focus series, send an email to or call (888) 988-1699 ext. 1.

For more than two decades, FTR has been one of the thought leaders 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.

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