FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index showed significant improvement but remained in slightly negative territory in June, signaling more stability in rates despite still being relatively weak, FTR says.
The firm says strengthening freight demand and lower diesel prices were offset by weak truckload rates and easing capacity utilization, in addition to some higher financing costs that negatively affected carriers in June.
FTR projects trucking conditions to remain negative into 2020, but some positive readings are possible before 2019 ends.
“Although rates remain weak for carriers, they appear at least to be stabilizing,” says Avery Vise, vice president of trucking for FTR. “Meanwhile, freight demand appears firmer in recent weeks than in early spring, but the outlook is far from rosy given a softening industrial sector. Our biggest near-term concern, however, is the potential impact of the trade war with China on consumer spending and business investment.”