FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index fell marginally in January to a reading of 6.1, according to the March 2012 Trucking Update.
In spite of the lower index to start the year, FTR is forecasting a slow climb to strongly positive territory for trucking throughout 2012, with volumes and profits sufficient for investment for growth by year’s end. The strengthening U.S. economy is expected to produce, at minimum, a 3.9% growth in truck freight which will be greater than overall GDP performance.
The Trucking Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies. Any reading above zero indicates an adequate trucking environment with readings above 10 a sign that volumes, prices and margin are in a good range for trucking companies.
“The spike in the price of diesel due to Mideast tensions is one factor that has pulled the TCI down recently and downside pressure will continue until the price stabilizes,” said Larry Gross, Senior Consultant for FTR. “However, barring a significant economic slowdown from an external factor such as an actual Mideast confrontation, the fundamentals for the trucking industry are expected to continue to strengthen throughout the year, and we could well see a surprise on the upside if important sectors such as automotive and even housing continue to improve.”