The latest edition of FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index showed September numbers improving to -8.97 from -12.54 in August. FTR says this is due mostly to more stable fuel prices and modestly stronger freight demand. Market conditions remain quite tough for carriers and the outlook is for consistently negative readings for the TCI into late 2024, FTR said.
“The TCI was less negative in September principally because fuel costs did not rise as much as they did in August, but trucking companies saw no real improvement in freight market conditions,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking. “Although carriers today are seeing some temporary relief due to the recent drop in diesel prices, freight rates look to improve only gradually over the next year. The trucking industry continues to struggle with more capacity than is ideal given sluggish freight volume. Many operations apparently are hanging on or maintaining driver levels in hopes of a near-term rebound, but that approach amounts to an increasingly high stakes game of chicken.”