Sharp declines in freight volumes, utilization and rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to the worst overall trucking conditions on record during the second quarter of this year, according to FTR’s projections for the Trucking Conditions Index (TCI).
FTR forecasts that the TCI will hit its lowest points in April and May, but the current outlook is for the index to remain negative well into 2021.
The most recent final index reading was 0.96 for February, which was down from January but still slightly positive. Before the COVID-19 crisis in March, the TCI had been positive for three straight months, which had not happened in a year.
Avery Vise, vice president of trucking, commented, “Although trucking conditions might prove to be comparable to the worst of the Great Recession, the trucking industry – like the rest of the economy – has never seen such an abrupt deterioration. The need to restock grocery shelves provided a brief boost for some segments, but the economic shutdown now has taken a toll on the whole industry. While an economic restart likely will begin in May, the damage wrought during this period will weaken trucking conditions for months to come.”