FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) reading of 8.82 for January reflects a very positive environment for truckers in early 2014. FTR expects the index to remain high as regulatory drag keeps capacity tight. The 2.8 point increase in the index from December to January reflects the belated improvement in truckload rates that began last summer with Hours of Service changes.
Details of the January TCI Index are found in the March issue of the Trucking Update published February 28, 2014. Notes by the Dashboard Light commentary discusses freight rates and the arguments for higher increases versus the risk. Beginning in 2014, 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 freight certainly took a hit to start 2014 numerous other indicators are positive for the industry and line up with our expectations for the remainder of the year. Namely, the capacity situation for trucking was highlighted when the severe weather hit and capacity shortages started occurring. These shortages illustrate that the industry has been operating with much less surge capacity available than in the past, and spot market pricing responded and has stayed elevated through much of February. If a late winter storm were to hit just as the spring shipping season heats up in March we could see another significant jump in TL pricing.”