Market conditions for trucking carriers might have peaked, but they remain very strong and are forecast to remain in the double-digit positive range for the balance of 2021, according to report from the transportation analyst firm FTR.
FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for June declined to 12.61 from a reading of 15.72 in May, but remained historically high, the firm said. The index tracks changes in five conditions in the U.S. truck market: freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price, and financing. Combined into a single score, the number represents good, optimistic conditions when positive and bad, pessimistic conditions when negative.
The recent drop reflected slightly weaker freight volume and somewhat less robust freight rates, although those trends were partially offset by slightly stronger capacity utilization, FTR said.
“We are closing in on a full year during which market conditions were at least as favorable for trucking companies as they were at the height of the 2017-2018 truck freight market, and we expect those conditions to continue into 2022,” Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking, said in a release. “With the pandemic potentially reemerging as an economic factor, downside risks are rising. However, a tight labor market and depleted retail automotive inventories, among other factors, should bolster freight volumes and utilization in the months ahead.”