FTR Trucking Conditions Index Eases in January; Outlook is Uncertain

03.14.20 | FTR

With little change in the conditions affecting trucking, FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for January eased from December to a new reading of 2.04. Improved capacity utilization in the sector was more than offset by weaker demand and weaker rates than in the previous month. Although fundamentals would suggest a stable outlook, coronavirus fears and related market turmoil pose risks.

With the March report, FTR has implemented changes to Trucking Update to provide better segmentation and the ability to quickly understand the content. Among the changes are a grouping of freight volumes and rates by segment to better show market pressures; more data on spot market metrics to add insights on freight market trends; and expanded sections on the economic environment and driver situation.

Details of the January TCI are found in the March issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published February 28. The report’s commentary discusses how the coronavirus outbreak might affect U.S.-China trade and other aspects of trucking. Along with the TCI and commentary, Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.

Click here to view the latest release and an interactive graph of the TCI >

Avery Vise, vice president of trucking, commented, “Until late February, we expected to see a gradual but steady recovery in trucking conditions after a mildly weak first quarter. The panic over the coronavirus as well as recent developments regarding global oil markets have injected considerable risk and uncertainty into this outlook. While many of those risks are to the downside, the situation also could develop in ways that might benefit trucking companies in the coming months in terms of volume, utilization, and rates.”

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 (up or down) suggest significant operating changes are likely.
In addition to the Trucking Conditions Index, FTR has recently started releasing a weekly Trucking Market Update on the State of Freight Podcast. The weekly update is provided by FTR’s Vice President of Trucking, Avery Vise, and covers industry news and key indicators on a more frequent basis. To listen to recent episodes and download the indicators that are covered, go to

For more information on how to subscribe to Trucking Update, or other publications within FTR's Freight Focus, send an email to [email protected]  or call (888) 988-1699 ext. 1 and follow us on Twitter @FTRintel.

Trucking Update, published monthly, is part of FTR’s Freight Focus and reports data that directly impacts the activity and profitability of truck fleets. As part of Trucking Update, FTR forecasts expected trends in this data and the probable short and long term consequences.
Click here to download a sample report >

About FTR
For more than 30 years, FTR has served as the industry leader in freight transportation forecasting for the shipping, trucking, rail, intermodal, equipment, and financial communities in North America. FTR’s experts, with over 250 years of combined experience in the transportation industry, provide quantitative analysis with historical and modal-specific insights. FTR’s reports, data, commentary, and insights help clients evaluate market risks, identify new opportunities, and make informed decisions.
FTR is the only company with a complete set of freight data for all modes of transportation with detail at the 3 Digit STCC commodity level. FTR tracks and forecasts 200+ unique commodity groups both quarterly and annually using their proprietary Freight•cast U.S. freight transportation model. FTR’s Transportation Conference held annually in September in Indianapolis is a unique event bringing together every aspect of the freight transportation world into one place. For more information  

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