FTR Trucking Conditions Index improves in March

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FTR Associates on Thursday, May 3, said its Trucking Conditions Index for March improved to a reading of 6.4, a half-point higher than the previous month. The Trucking Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies; any reading above zero indicates a positive environment for truckers, with readings above 10 a sign that volumes, prices and margin are in a solidly favorable range for trucking companies.

FTR forecasts the index to continue a steady climb throughout 2012, reaching a double-digit positive reading by early 2013. FTR said it expects truck freight to increase at a 4-5 percent growth rate for the remainder of the year, putting pressure on capacity and allowing truck fleets more leeway in the freight they choose to haul and at what rate.

“Slightly weaker-than-expected freight volumes during the first quarter have kept a lid on seeing stronger upward movement in the TCI,” said Jon Starks, FTR’s director of transportation analysis. “The index shows the clear U-shaped pattern of industry conditions in 2011 and 2012 as the strong demand growth of 2010 faded. Now, with an improving economy and growing regulatory drag, market tightness is slowly developing again, with trucking conditions expected to approach their favorable 2010 levels by year’s end.”