FTR Associates on Thursday, May 5, said that its Trucking Conditions Index rose to 13.30 in March from a February reading of 9.92 due to the ability of carriers to garner higher rates as industry capacity tightened. The index is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies and has been rising steadily since October 2010. Any reading above zero indicates an adequate trucking environment, with readings above 10 a sign that volumes, prices and margin are in a good range for trucking companies.
Eric Starks, FTR president, said that during the first months of 2011, the fundamentals of the balance between the supply and demand for truck transport were obscured by the normal seasonal weakness in demand. “Now that we are moving into the higher freight months, the dimensions of the capacity situation are beginning to come into sharper focus as we expected,” Starks said. “Demand for truck transport is growing at a normal rate for this point in the economic recovery.”
Starks said that due to the continuing strength in the manufacturing sector, FTR expects demand to hold up despite the temporary weakening of GDP growth. “We believe that these fundamentals will enable trucking revenues to outpace the significant increases in trucking costs, including higher driver wages, fuel prices and more expensive equipment,” he said.