Weaker freight rates and volumes caused trucking conditions to deteriorate in February, according to the latest FTR Trucking Conditions Index (TCI).
The -5.17 reading was down from -1.71 in January, with negative conditions more than offsetting some slight improvements in utilization and fuel costs. FTR anticipates trucking conditions will remain in negative territory until well into 2024.
“While market conditions for trucking companies weakened in February, the relatively better – though still negative – TCI in January was the outlier,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice-president of trucking.
“The industrial and consumer sectors are sluggish, although spending on goods is still elevated and consumer inflation is slowing. Freight volume is holding up better than many anticipated, but downside risks are substantial. Although fears of a major banking crisis have abated since March, tighter lending standards by banks on top of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes could slow the economy further.”