FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index rebounded marginally in April to a -0.64 reading. Conditions improved slightly from the previous month, but TCI remains in negative territory as the rate environment continues to soften. Economic indicators linked to freight are generally weaker, and FTR says it expects that the index will remain in a narrow band of negative readings through 2019 and into the 2020 calendar year.
“Not that long ago, it seemed inconceivable that the good times in trucking would end, but here we are back down to Earth,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking. “Growth in manufacturing – the most significant driver of trucking activity – has subsided, and residential construction remains stagnant. However, there are some near-term positives, such as lower diesel prices. Also, carriers are responding to flagging demand by ending their hiring spree, which could set the stage for firmer capacity utilization down the road.”
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.