FTR on Friday, June 3, announced that its April Trucking Conditions Index fell to a reading of 7.57 from a March reading of 13.30. The primary factors driving the index down were an adjustment to FTR’s outlook for base shipping rate increases, as well as a further delay in the expected enforcement of new industry driver-related regulations.
The Trucking Conditions 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.
“Although we saw a drop in our Trucking Conditions Index this month, it is still firmly in positive territory, reflecting a continued healthy environment for trucking companies,” says Eric Starks, president of FTR. “We are seeing some weakness in economic growth, which eases capacity constraints somewhat.”
Starks says the timing of new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, including hours of service modifications, keeps slipping further out into the future, reducing projected pressure on the driver pool in the short run. “These factors are lowering the ability for truckers to increase shipping rates,” he says. “However, it’s important to note that we expect the environment for trucking companies to remain positive.”