Trucking Conditions Index points to great environment for fleets

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The Trucking Conditions Index — reported monthly by FTR Associates — rose 2.2 points in January from December, pushing the index to a reading of 10.6, meaning that volume, pricing and margins are in a “solidly favorable range for trucking companies,” says FTR.

The reading has jumped nearly 7 full points since October’s 3.4, which FTR attributes to improved freight growth and an expectation of tightening capacity. FTR’s also forecasting the index to stay high as “unprecedented regulations affecting trucking utilization go into effect” in the middle of this year.

They also predict 2014 to be a strong year for the index as trucking companies have the opportunity to raise rates due to tight capacity.

“While the sequester is now in effect, we have seen enough indications of an improving economy to expect a growing freight market in 2013,” says FTR’s Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis. “As regulators impose the changes to hours-of-service rules in July capacity will further tighten to levels not seen since 2004. Eventually, carriers will have the ability to raise rates but their costs, especially in driver pay, will increase as well.”