FTR index shows tightest ever trucking capacity

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The latest Trucking Conditions Index compiled by FTR shows “unprecedented capacity constraints” which could help boost rates.

The TCI reading of 7.54 for February should serve as a warning to shippers and good news to truckers, FTR reports.

When adjusted to account for weather, the reading would actually exceed 10, FTR says, reflecting the tightest capacity market on record. FTR says it expects the reading to remain this way throughout 2014 as “regulatory drag” reduces truck productivity.

“The most recent weekly spot market data shows that the spring thaw has come to truck demand with spot market capacity up and load activity down slightly – a plateau versus the last couple of months when both demand and pricing spiked while capacity was severely constrained,” said Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis with FTR.

“Both carriers and shippers have to be on the lookout for a potential tipping point when freight demand is able to keep the current high level of truck use well into the summer months. Such an environment would necessitate shippers bidding up rates to maintain secure capacity during the fall shipping season. FTR continues to evaluate the freight environment and currently sees enough moderation in truck demand to get through the year without a crisis – but, it would only take a relatively modest and short uptick in the industrial sector for capacity to tighten significantly further. We advise everyone to stay tuned to the manufacturing data to see if the thaw continues.”

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