The Trucking Conditions Index fell by nearly 50% in March as a weak economy during the first quarter of 2016 had a negative impact on the freight market, according to the latest FTR report.
The March TCI measured 4.22 for the month and FTR cautioned that further falls are possible. Any recovery with upward movement in trucking conditions may also not come until late in the year, the research firm cautioned..
“The freight markets have slowed significantly over the last year with March volumes just 1.5% above year ago levels,” said Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer for FTR. “On a seasonally adjusted basis, volumes were lower in March than what was seen in July of last year.”
With more government regulations set to take effect in the near future, the constraints placed on trucker productivity could move the TCI higher in 2017 and 2018, according to FTR.
“The market has essentially moved sideways for more than half a year,” said Starks. “The good news is that manufacturing looks to be growing again, and the consumer hasn’t stopped spending.”
While consumers are still spending, growth in spending has not increased at a high enough rate to have a bigger impact on manufacturing, which is projected to remain weak throughout 2016.
The latest TCI is part of FTR’s most recent Trucking Update, which includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs and trucking employment.