Indicators: Conditions for carriers improve, as do rates

CCJ‘s Indicators rounds up the latest reports on trucking business indicators on rates, freight, equipment, the economy and more.

FTR Truck OEMs ChartConditions for carriers improved in November: In line with other indicators of late, market conditions for trucking companies improved slightly in November, according to FTR’s monthly Trucking Conditions Index. Conditions are expected to continue to improve throughout 2017, FTR predicts. Capacity is already tightening, FTR’s Jonathan Starks says, and rate leverage is swinging in favor of carriers.

“All in all, trucking is starting the year off with much better footing than we had one year ago,” he said. “Truck utilization has improved by 3 percentage points, and the Market Demand Index from jumped by 40 percent to end 2016. The capacity situation has tightened at the same time that volumes have begun to show improvement. The outlook for pricing gains has finally shifted back toward the carriers.”

Cass Truckload Linehaul IndextRates in December tick upward: Though December rates were down slightly from the same month in 2015, truckload linehaul rates in December rose from November and closed the year at the highest point of 2016, according to Cass’ Truckload Linehaul Index.

Rates could be poised for continued improvement, said analysts at Avondale Partners: “The current strength being reported in spot rates is leading us to believe that our current -3 percent to 1 percent truckload pricing forecast may need to be improved/moved to a slightly more positive outlook if the strength in spot rates continues long enough to move contract rates back into positive territory.”