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FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index improves slightly in April

FTR Intel says its Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) 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, the company reports. Economic indicators linked to freight are generally weaker, and FTR expects  the index to remain in a narrow band of negative readings through 2019 and into 2020. 

Details of the April TCI are available in the June issue of FTR’s Trucking Update. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section in the issue includes an updated analysis of the current trade situation and the impact it is having on freight. The Trucking Update also includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs and the truck driver situation, FTR said.

“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, FTR’s 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 changes representing five major conditions— freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price and financing—in the US truck market. 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.

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