The November FTR Trucking Conditions Index jumped by more than three points to a reading of 8.64-- possibly pointing to improvements for truckers in 2016, according to FTR.
The carrier environment is forecast to strengthen as shippers continueto worry about tight capacity, said FTR. However, the downside risks for carriers could trump this if freight fails to grow as expected because of weak industrial output.
Despite some stock market turmoil in recent months, low oil prices and other economic indicators point to modest growth domestically. Manufacturing is down but a modest rebound is expected by mid-year and if that holds true, FTR believes rate growth to stay positive and capacity to tighten in late 2016.
“Our initial take for 2016 is to expect some more of the same-- modestly tight conditions in contract segments and somewhat looser conditions for spot activity,” said Jonathan starks, chief operating officer of FTR. “However, with the economic data not clearly pointing to acceleration in growth, the fleets’ position is somewhat tenuous, and the downside risks do seem to be increasing.”