These are good days to be trucking in the U.S., according to the analysts at FTR.
The organization’s Trucking Condition Index reached a record high of 16.27 in March, up five points over February, and beating the previous record of 16.17 seen in October 2020.
The index reflects changes in freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel prices, and financing. Factors including freight volume, rates, and capacity utilization were all stronger on the month.
And FTR believes the measure should remain in positive, double-digit territory until the third quarter of this year. Other records may also be coming.
“March’s record TCI was especially remarkable considering that the index’s fuel component – the month’s lone weakness – was the most negative it had been since before the Great Recession,” said Avery Vise, vice-president – trucking.
“Robust demand and tight capacity no doubt are big operational headaches for many trucking operations, but those factors are supporting the best market conditions ever for carriers. We have yet to see signs of a loosening in driver capacity, so the near-term outlook is strong. A longer-term risk is that extraordinary levels of consumption – especially of durable goods – set the stage for softness in 2022 and beyond. In a sense, therefore, today’s supply chain shortages might prove beneficial by stretching out the period of solid consumer demand.”