Indicators: Conditions for carriers ‘best ever’ says FTR

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

With capacity constrained, freight demand climbing and rates humming, FTR says market conditions for carriers “reflect a best ever environment.” FTR’s monthly Trucking Conditions Index reached an all-time best reading in February, the firm said Tuesday.

Notably, the all-time-high reading hit during the first quarter, typically some of the weakest months of the year for freight movement, meaning there’s likely room for the index to continue to gain, says FTR Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Starks.

“For carriers, there is a feeling of ‘Let the Good Times Roll,’ and the data is backing that up. We are approaching record level spot rates, freight demand remains elevated and the economy continues to grow at a good pace,” he says. “If there is any frustration, it is having to turn away loads due to a shortage of drivers.”

Starks said a slowing of freight growth and the costs of labor and equipment could moderate the index’s reading later this year. “This can be a challenging time for carriers as they try to balance the short-term and long-term needs of the business,” he said. “This freight environment won’t stay around forever, and both carriers and shippers will be striving to balance those competing requirements.”