FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index fell back nearly two points in May to a new reading of -2.3. The TCI has been in negative territory since March and reflects a general weakness in conditions affecting carriers. The outlook is for relative stability through the year with the possibility of some slightly positive readings month-to-month during the period.
The May TCI reading was primarily brought down by the softening rate environment. Freight demand was the only positive contributor in the May measure, albeit not a particularly strong one.
Details of the May TCI are found in the July issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published June 28. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section in the current issue includes an analysis of spot market truck availability. Along with the TCI and ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light,’ the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.
“Although we have dropped from double-digit TCI readings to negative readings in less than a year, we believe the outlook for the rest of 2019 generally is for stability close to neutral conditions,” Avery Vise, vice president of trucking, commented. “It’s also important to recognize that most of the weakness is in the industrial sector, so trucking activity related to consumer demand should be relatively stronger than the rest of the industry.”
The Trucking Conditions Index 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 that tracks the market conditions that influence fleet behavior. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions.