FTR Trucking Conditions Index for January Falls Back to Single Digit Positive Reading

After a spike to a 11.44 positive reading in December, FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index fell back to 5.79 in January as was expected. The January level was attributed to higher costs of capital along with lower freight demand and capacity utilization. Even the January level will not be sustained for long as conditions for trucking are expected to moderate further toward neutral territory through at least Q3.
Details of the January TCI are found in the March issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published February 28. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section in the current issue digs deeply into the driver shortage outlook for fleets. Along with the TCI and ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light,’ the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.
Avery Vise, vice president of trucking, commented, “Trucking conditions in January
were not the outlier that December conditions were, but the industry still enjoyed much
lower diesel costs than had been the case for most of 2018. With diesel prices now
rising and capacity utilization and freight rates easing, we would expect January to
represent the high point for trucking conditions in 2019.”
The Trucking Conditions Index 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 that tracks the market conditions that influence fleet behavior. A positive score
represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad,
pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life,
running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s
wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR

Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem, while readings high above zero spell
opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment,
and double-digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating
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