Indicators: Slow-growth trucking likely to remain through next year

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

Market conditions for trucking fleets remained slightly negative in August, according to the latest Trucking Conditions Index from FTR. The firm forecasts trucking conditions to remain mostly neutral territory through 2020 and for trucking growth to remain limited through the end of next year.

FTR’s loadings outlook is for a 0.5% increase in 2019 and 0.9% growth in 2020.

“Although trucking conditions are weak, we believe that they have stabilized for the industry as a whole. However, larger carriers appear to be faring much better than small carriers, which are far more exposed to weak spot rates and to rising liability insurance costs.” says Avery Vise, vice president of trucking for FTR. “We might be seeing an accelerated shakeout of active capacity that could lead to firmer utilization and freight rates.”

Active truck utilization edged downward in August, FTR said. Although FTR’s current outlook calls for a gradual increase, active utilization is expected to remain below the 10-year average through 2020. Freight-related indicators continue to diverge between the no-growth industrial sector and the still-growing consumer sector.