FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index, Jan. 2013-May 2014.

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index, Jan. 2013-May 2014. 

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index showed some positive movement in June after moderating slightly during the prior two months.

The index rose 1.9 points from May, registering 7.64, reflecting an environment in which carriers are gaining market power but rates are struggling to keep up with cost inflation, according to the freight forecasting firm.

It noted the May and April readings were substantially below the 8.35 average seen during the first quarter.

“The headline number of 4% for gross domestic product growth in the second quarter is getting plenty of news but the real number for getting a sense of true demand in this economy is the 'final sales' component of GDP,” said Jonathan Starks, FTR’s director of transportation analysis. “It stood at 2.3% in the second quarter, well above the 1% decline seen in first quarter, but noticeably below the 3.5% it averaged during the second half of 2013.”

He said truck freight continues to show steady increases and the capacity situation is unlikely to loosen up any time soon.

“These good developments are partially offset by slower than expected growth in contract rates. Spot market rates are still elevated, although they have shown normal moderation during the summer months. We expect to see both spot and contract rates continue to rise as we get into the fall shipping season,” Starks said.