FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for June was strong, although it declined to 12.61 from a reading of 15.72 in May.
The easing in June primarily reflected slightly weaker freight volume and somewhat less robust freight rates. Partially offsetting those factors was slightly stronger capacity utilization. Overall, market conditions for carriers might have peaked, but they remain very strong and are forecast to remain in the double-digit positive range for the balance of 2021, FTR officials said in a press release.
“We are closing in on a full year during which market conditions were at least as favorable for trucking companies as they were at the height of the 2017-2018 truck freight market, and we expect those conditions to continue into 2022," Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking, said. "With the pandemic potentially reemerging as an economic factor, downside risks are rising. However, a tight labor market and depleted retail automotive inventories, among other factors, should bolster freight volumes and utilization in the months ahead.”
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 in either direction suggest significant operating changes are likely.