The monthly Trucking Conditions Index produced by FTR Associates improved in March upon what FTR has said is an “already favorable environment for trucking.” The reading moved to 13.12. Anything above 10, FTR says, shows that conditions for trucking are “likely to be in a solidly favorable range for trucking companies.”
Though conditions are good now, says FTR, part of what’s driving the index higher is the portion that accounts for forward-looking conditions, meaning that conditions are likely to remain strong for some time.
Trucking rates will increase as volume grows and as hours-of-service regulations take effect in July, FTR says. FTR Senior Consultant Larry Gross says the firm forecasts a 3 percent reduction in productivity from hours-of-service implementation, and that 3 percent should continue to push rates upward.
“With enforcement of the revised hours-of-service regulations now less than 60 days away, shippers and carriers need to be preparing for the change. Although there is still a chance that the court will issue an injunction, this becomes less likely with each passing day,” Gross says. “If regulators continue to roll out the additional regulatory changes already in the pipeline and freight continues to grow at even a moderate pace, tight conditions could continue for several years.”