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FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for August reflects strong month for carriers

Oct. 12, 2020
Except for June of this year, the August reading was the highest for the index since March 2018.

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for August jumped to a positive reading of 8.31, reflecting the very favorable rate environment for trucking during the month. Except for June of this year, the August reading was the highest for the index since March 2018. FTR expects the TCI to fall slightly in September and continue to lower positive single digit readings in Q4 and into 2021.

Details of the August TCI are found in the October issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published September 30. Additional commentary focuses on the contrasts between the total freight market and the current strong market. Beyond the TCI and the commentary, Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, and rates. FTR also publishes ongoing publicly available analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on freight transportation at FTR’s COVID-19 intelligence.

“The stress on freight markets from replenishing retail inventories following the contraction continues and is keeping rates strong for carriers,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking, FTR. “The more industrially focused segments have not benefitted as much so far, but we are beginning to see signs of stronger demand, and the housing market is robust. Although high unemployment and uncertain support from Washington remain risks, we expect trucking conditions to remain strong for a prolonged period.”

The TCI 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 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 in either direction suggest significant operating changes are likely.