FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) reading of 7.01 in November, while 20% lower than the previous month, still reflects a positive environment for truckers. The regulatory drag from Hours of Service changes is reducing capacity, however upside economics have yet to be translated into real market tightness mitigating the rise in the index. FTR now assumes that FMCSA will delay most of the next round of planned regulatory changes affecting trucking lowering their TCI forecast for 2015 and 2016.
Details of the October TCI Index are found in the January issue of the Trucking Update published December 29, 2013. Notes by the Dashboard Light commentary discusses how government policies will affect trucking in 2014. Beginning with the January issue, the Trucking Update includes new data and analysis on the truck driver situation. This will be a permanent addition to the report and greatly enhances the value of the service.
Jonathan Starks, FTR’s Director of Transportation Analysis, comments, “While we did see a slight dip in the TCI Index, the absolute level is still suggesting a relatively healthy trucking environment. We have also seen several positive indicators being reported in the industry during December and January that are making us slightly more bullish about the direction in the market as we enter 2014. Some of the recent data suggests a significantly tightening capacity situation in trucking. While some of the tightening is due to the storms that have plagued the U.S., it appears that the recovery in the manufacturing market, coupled with the Hours-of-Service regulations changes, are finally impacting the truck market as we have been predicting for several months. If this tightening continues it would be a significant boon for truckers, as they will finally have the ability to raise shipping rates.”