FTR’s Trucking Condition Index hits new high

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FTR’s Trucking Condition Index rose to 7.1 in December, the highest level yet recorded during the current recovery, FTR said Tuesday, Feb. 1. The TCI reflects tightening conditions for hauling capacity. According to FTR, current conditions and strong prospects going forward are expected to raise this index steadily – possibly to a new record in early 2012.

The Trucking Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies, and FTR says the current readings as well as the forecast for the next few years bodes well for increased vehicle utilization and solid pricing power for carriers through the period.

“We have been forecasting steady improvements for the trucking sector,” says Eric Starks, president of FTR. “Conservative fleet attitudes toward adding drivers and equipment, combined with the continuing growth of freight, means that trucking companies should see their equipment utilization nearing 100 percent later this year. As a result, carriers will have greater latitude to both raise rates and to be more selective with regard to freight.”

FTR expects the delays in implementation of hours-of-service and Compliance Safety Accountability regulations to push out the peak shortage timing to early 2012. “Despite the impact from regulatory drag being moved further out, improving economic conditions will help make 2011 a good year for trucking companies,” Starks says.