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FTR Trucking Conditions Index remains strong

Jason Morgan is the content director of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 15 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

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After easing modestly but steadily since April’s record level, FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) in August rose slightly to a reading of 11.63. Freight volume and capacity utilization were not quite as favorable for carriers in August as they were in July, but more robust freight rates resulted in stronger overall market conditions. FTR says its TCI forecast remains for strong positive readings well into 2022.

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The TCI 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 indicating the industry’s overall health.

“Market conditions in trucking still strongly favor carriers, and we have no real sign of an inflection on the horizon,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking. “After healthy – though not especially robust – gains in payroll employment during the summer, trucking job growth was relatively weak in September. Meanwhile, the shift of capacity from larger carriers to startups continues, adding to the supply chain disruptions that are bolstering spot market volume and rates for much longer than we would expect in a ‘normal’ hot market like we saw in 2017 and 2018. Rising diesel prices increase the risks of a swing of capacity back toward larger carriers if spot metrics begin to soften, but we have no indication of that happening yet.”

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