FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index reveals that trucking conditions in June showed few signs of improvement due to slow freight and a lull in new regulations.
June’s TCS showed a reading of 2.92 for the month, indicating that trucking operators were doing OK but not great. FTR said that any reading above zero is still somewhat positive because zero is the break point between good and bad conditions.
June’s reading is up from May’s abysmal 1.69 reading, which was the lowest level since 2011. The TCI is currently forecast to rise into next year as the capacity constraining effects of new regulations are calculated in.
Trucking rates, in the dry van segment in particular, have moved lower over the past year but Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer at FTR, said that both contract and spot rates may have bottomed out, considering recent data. This combined with the incoming ELD mandate could have the effect of reducing capacity and changing conditions.
“We are hearing that many shippers and fleets are looking to implement [ELD] technology well in advance of the due date in order to have time to mitigate any issues that arise from its deployment,” said Starks. “We are also seeing that the extra capacity that was in the system following the 2014 reversion of the HOS rules has been mostly eliminated, and that any change in HOS or in improving economics could quickly tighten up the market like we saw in 2014.”