The FTR Trucking Conditions Index for January dropped 34% month to month to a reading of 7.8. Despite the drop, the index is only slightly below the high average score from 2014.
The score reflects the positive impact from lower fuel prices being offset by weaker freight rates, load growth and capacity. FTR expects the index to maintain a high level and eventually move up again later in the year due to expected regulatory drag on the industry that will tighten capacity.
Since bottoming out in February, diesel’s impact on the TCI will subside but stay positive unless energy markets become more volatile than expected, predicts FTR.
“Despite the drop in TCI from December to January, the index remains at a high level,” said Jonathan Starks, FTR director of transportation analysis. “I expect capacity to be more available during the spring shipping season since weather has been less disruptive and the HOS rollback has begun being implemented.”