FTR Trucking Conditions Index Double Digits As Freight Rates Strengthen
FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (ICT) for September edged up to 11.79 from 11.63 in August. Freight rates continued to strengthen in September, but freight volume and capacity utilization were not as good for carriers as they were in July and August. FTR’s forecast remains for strongly positive TCI readings through 2022.
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“The market remains stubbornly favorable to carriers in large part due to continued high consumer spending and the effects of supply chain issues on productivity,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking for FTR. “The latest data on wage employment for trucking imply a significantly stronger recovery in driver capacity than it was before, but the continued increase in newly licensed small carriers continues to displace capacity and stymie a return to normal.
Details of the September TCI can be found in the November 2021 issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published on October 29. The November issue also examines whether soaring diesel costs could have broader implications for the freight market. Beyond TCI and additional commentary, the trucking update includes data and analysis on load volumes, capacity environment, tariffs and economy. FTR is also posting an ongoing publicly available analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on freight transport at www.ftrintel.com/coronavirus.
“Additionally, even as carriers begin to see recruiting challenges ease, lingering difficulties in truck production due to shortages of parts and materials could limit capacity in the coming months. A key factor for the freight market will be whether consumer spending remains as robust beyond the holidays and the end of child tax credit advance payments in December. “
TCI tracks changes representing five major conditions in the US truck market. These conditions are: freight volumes, freight rate, fleet capacity, fuel price and financing. The individual measures are combined into a single index indicating the overall health of the industry. A positive score represents good optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad pessimistic conditions. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings in both directions suggest significant operating changes are likely.