September Trucking Conditions Index Continues Positive Trend Ahead of Expected Late Year Decline


FTR's Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) reading of 9.97 in September continues to show a positive environment for trucking. The index is expected to peak in October after which the full impact of the newly enacted Hours of Service rules negatively affect trucking. Possibly mitigating the capacity constraints imposed by H.O.S., but equally detrimental, is the potential for freight growth to slow in 2014 as a result of uncertainty imposed on the economy from the government shutdown and the ongoing debate about the federal budget.

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

Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis for FTR, commented, "Prior to the government shutdown on October 1st, economic and industry data was pointing to a possible uptick in demand as we head into the final stretch of 2013. The length of the shutdown and the outcome of the debt ceiling fight will play a big part in deciding if that acceleration is realized. We continue to expect a resolution to both issues prior to the debt ceiling being reached on October 17; however, the longer this plays out the more difficult it becomes to see a solid agreement taking shape. While the shutdown is a tough pill to swallow in a slow-growth economy, the effects of not raising the debt ceiling would be much more dramatic and devastating. We are hopeful that a compromise solution can be crafted before that occurs".

The TCI is designed to summarize a full collection of industry metrics, with a reading above zero indicating a generally positive environment for truckers. Readings above 10 would signal that volumes, prices, and margins are likely to be in a solidly favorable range for trucking companies. The details of the September TCI Index are found in the November issue of the Trucking Update published November 1, 2013. Notes by the Dashboard Light commentary discusses the U.S. federal budget debate and what it means to trucking.

The Trucking Update, published monthly, is part of FTR's Freight Focus Series and reports data that directly impacts the activity and profitability of truck fleets. As part of the Trucking Update, FTR forecasts expected trends in this data and the probable short and long term consequences. June's Notes by the Dashboard Light commentary gives readers a full understanding of how the current wave of federal regulations are negatively impacting trucking productivity. For more information on how to subscribe to the Trucking Update or other publications within the Freight Focus Series, send an email to [email protected] or call FTR at 1-888-988-1699, Ext. 1.

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