FTR’s March Trucking Conditions Index Previews the Industry’s Worst Quarter Ever

05.21.20 | FTR

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index reading for March, at -8.69, is just the start of negative readings that almost certainly will lead to the worst quarter (Q2 2020) for the segment on record. FTR expects by far the worst monthly reading in April due to lockdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic before readings recover to still-negative conditions. We do not anticipate any positive TCI readings until around the middle of 2021, although the pace of economic recovery remains uncertain.
Details of the March TCI are found in the May issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published April 30. Additional commentary updates the COVID-19 discussion including their view on what a restart to the economy might look like. Along with the TCI and COVID-19 analysis, the 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, “Despite a brief grocery restocking surge, overall trucking market conditions in March were the worst since the Great Recession. However, once we have all the data for April, March will seem like the good ol’ days by comparison. Trucking conditions certainly will improve beyond April, but the outlook remains uncertain both in demand and capacity as consumers, businesses, and trucking companies navigate an unprecedented contraction-and-restart dynamic that is further complicated by an ongoing health crisis and enormous financial support from Washington.”
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.

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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