FTR Trucking Conditions Index sees a modest increase, as fuel concerns persist

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The most recent edition of the Trucking Conditions Index (TCI), which was issued by freight transportation consultancy FTR showed a slight improvement, for the month of February, the most recent month for which data is available.

According to FTR, a TCI reading above zero represents an adequate trucking environment, with readings above 10 indicating that volumes, prices and margin are in a good range for carriers.

The February TCI reading came in at 12.06, up from January’s 11.46, with FTR noting that the gain came amid what the firm called a “sizable increase in fuel costs as freight rates were strong and freight demand improved.”

As for how the March edition of the TCI will turn out, FTR said that there is a strong possibility it will turn negative for the first time going back to May 2020, during the early stages of the pandemic. But, it added, it is likely that the TCI will head back into positive territory in April and the following months.

That optimism for April and beyond, though, is tempered, due to what FTR called signals of potentially weaker demand and rates than currently forecast, which could temper that outlook should fuel costs remain volatile.

“The truck freight market has entered the inevitable period where conditions for carriers are transitioning from uniformly strong to those that will be more variable from month to month and from segment to segment,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking, in a statement. “Uncertainty is high on both the demand and supply sides. Consumers generally remain strong financially, but prices are soaring, which undercuts buying power. Demand in the industrial sector remains high, but the supply chain still meters output, and the durability of that demand is not a given. Meanwhile, the implications of a spot market that is starting to normalize are unclear owing to the unprecedented shift of volume and capacity into the spot market since the rebound in mid-2020. It is premature to declare doom and gloom for carriers or major relief for shippers, but both should be weighing threats and opportunities.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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Article Topics

FTR &middot

TCI &middot

Trucking &middot

Trucking Conditions Index &middot
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