FTR's Trucking Conditions Index hits six-month low in March

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index hits six-month low in March

FTR cites highly unfavorable freight rates and financing costs as chief factors pushing the TCI down in March.

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index fell in March to -7.25, the most negative reading since September. The February reading was -5.31. FTR says highly unfavorable freight rates were the principal headwind for the trucking industry in March as the market remains soft for trucking companies. The company says financing costs also were a significant negative factor in the TCI, while other contributors to the index were generally stable.

“Rates had been a slightly less negative factor for carriers recently, so March might prove to be an outlier in what we expect will be a gradually improving environment for trucking companies,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking. “However, we are not forecasting that either freight rates or overall market conditions will be favorable for carriers until early next year. Freight volume improvement and capacity rightsizing are progressing only incrementally, and we do not see anything on the horizon that clearly will change those dynamics. One factor we are watching is the cost of commercial auto insurance. Government data indicates steady increases in premiums over the past year after several years of mostly stable pricing. Continued increases might become a catalyst for accelerated carrier failures, which could yield a tighter market a bit earlier than we are forecasting.”

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