FTR: Trucking to see slow climb to positive territory this year

Despite its Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) falling off “marginally” in January, research firm FTR Associates said it is forecasting “a slow climb to strongly positive territory for trucking throughout 2012-- with volumes and profits sufficient for investment for growth by year’s end.”

FTR said the strengthening U.S. economy is expected to produce-- at minimum-- a 3.9% growth in truck freight, which will be greater than overall GDP performance.

FTR”s TCI is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies. Any reading above zero indicates an adequate trucking environment. Readings above 10 indicate that volumes, prices and margind are in a good range for trucking companies.

“The spike in the price of diesel due to Mideast tensions is one factor that has pulled the TCI down recently and downside pressure will continue until the price stabilizes,” pointed out FTR senior consultant Larry Gross.

“However,” he added, “barring a significant economic slowdown from an external factor, such as an actual Mideast confrontation, the fundamentals for the trucking industry are expected to continue to strengthen throughout the year, and we could well see a surprise on the upside if important sectors such as automotive and even housing continue to improve.”

Nashville, IN-based FTR Associates’ forecast reports cover trucking and rail transportation and include demand analysis for commercial vehicles as well as railcars. Specially designed reports are offered to participants in both industries to cover specific needs.

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