Trucking conditions in the U.S. improved further in February, with FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index ticking up from 10.37 in January to 11.23.
That made February the best month for truckers since a record reading in October 2020. FTR credits strong capacity utilization and freight rates along with stable volumes, which offset rising fuel prices.
FTR projects its TCI will deliver double-digit positive readings beyond Q2, and will remain positive through 2022.
“You could hardly devise better market conditions for trucking companies as demand is robust in both the consumer and industrial sectors and lingering labor-related challenges due to the pandemic are keeping a lid on capacity,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice-president, trucking.
“We do not expect any noticeable easing in this environment until this fall, and even when that occurs, we do not anticipate that conditions will stabilize as quickly as they did in late 2018 and 2019. The outlook is not without risks, including shortages and disruptions in the supply chain. However, even those risks arguably have an upside by potentially bolstering freight demand over a longer period.”
The TCI tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the U.S. truck market. These conditions are: freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price, and financing. The individual metrics are combined into a single index indicating the industry’s overall health.