FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for November, at 4.58, changed little from the previous month’s adjusted reading of 4.38. The current TCI level is consistent with FTR’s forecasts of steadily-improving trucking conditions heading into 2017. An expectation for stronger demand, along with the mandate for Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), should tighten capacity through 2017, with the TCI possibly hitting positive double digits by the end of the year.
Jonathan Starks, Chief Operating Officer at FTR, comments, “Cautious optimism is in place as we begin 2017. Truckers have dealt with profound political change, regulations published, regulations struck down, and upward movement in truck volumes and pricing. All of this occurred within the last 3 months of 2016. Now, imagine what the next 12 months will bring. We have fairly good certainty that ELD will be implemented at the end of the year, but the incoming administration’s impact on infrastructure, taxes, and regulations are still up for debate. All in all, trucking is starting the year off with much better footing than we had one year ago. Truck utilization has improved by three percentage points, and the Market Demand Index (MDI) from Truckstop.com jumped by 40% 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. That is a welcome relief after the weakness seen over the last year and a half.”