Ftr Tci November 2019

FTR: November TCI stays negative

Jan. 22, 2020
Weaker spot rates primary contributor to -1.58 reading, but conditions ‘not has bad as people may hear,’ forecaster says

FTR Intel’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) declined in November to a reading of -1.58 with weaker spot rates primarily responsible.

Overall, trucking conditions are holding in a narrow window generating slightly negative readings for the TCI, FTR added. The FTR forecast is for it to remain in near neutral range until conditions improve modestly in late 2020.

Details of the November TCI are found in the January issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published Dec 20, 2019. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section discusses the possible impacts of coming regulatory changes at the state, national and global levels. 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.

“Conditions certainly are not as good as trucking companies would like, but fundamentally they are not as bad as people may hear,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking. “We continue to see many business failures, but the principal driver appears to be trucking insurance costs, not market fundamentals.

“Capacity utilization is low but stable. Weakness in manufacturing especially has dampened freight demand, but solid consumer spending and improving construction activity are holding up a floor on volumes.”

The TCI tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the US truck market: 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. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions.

Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings (up or down) suggest significant operating changes are likely.

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