Freight transportation analysis firm FTR is reporting that the truck freight environment was mediocre in August and was likely to stay that way through 2020.
FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index, which tracks five major conditions that affect the U.S. truck market, showed a reading of 1.11 for August, being negatively impacted by weak utilization and higher financing costs.
Active truck utilization was down in August to 87.4%, and while FTR believes it will gradually improve it also expects active utilization to remain below the 10-year average of 91% through 2020.
Freight-related indicators continue to diverge between the no-growth industrial sector and the still-growing consumer sector. FTR’s loadings outlook is for a 0.5% increase in 2019 and 0.9% growth in 2020.
“Although trucking conditions are weak, we believe that they have stabilized for the industry as a whole,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking at FTR. “However, larger carriers appear to be faring much better than small carriers, which are far more exposed to weak spot rates and to rising liability insurance costs. We might be seeing an accelerated shakeout of active capacity that could lead to firmer utilization and freight rates.”