Trucking conditions improve in August, but hours impact approaching says FTR

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dockThe Trucking Conditions Index, produced monthly by FTR Associates, moved to a reading of 9.52 in August, which FTR is calling “an expected peak” before the conditions begin to deteriorate “as the industry absorbs the impact of the hours-of-service rule changes.”

However, conditions are expected to stabilize next year until more becomes available about any regulations FMCSA plans to implement in 2015.

The conditions in August were nearing the significant 10 mark, which FTR says “signals that volumes, prices and margins are likely to be in a solidly favorable range for trucking companies.” Any reading above zero, however, means the environment for trucking companies is positive, FTR says.

FTR Director of Transportation Jonathan Starks says there were positive signs in data prior to the Oct. 1 government shutdown, and the outcome of the debt ceiling battle in progress could will have an impact on whether the uptick prior to Oct. 1 will continue.

“Prior to the government shutdown on October 1st, economic and industry data was pointing to a possible uptick in demand as we head into the final stretch of 2013. The length of the shutdown and the outcome of the debt ceiling fight will play a big part in deciding if that acceleration is realized,” Starks said. “We continue to expect a resolution to both issues prior to the debt ceiling being reached on October 17. However, the longer this plays out the more difficult it becomes to see a solid agreement taking shape. While the shutdown is a tough pill to swallow in a slow-growth economy, the effects of not raising the debt ceiling would be much more dramatic and devastating. We are hopeful that a compromise solution can be crafted before that occurs”