BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Trucking conditions in the US remained unchanged in January, but will improve later this year, according to the latest FTR Trucking Conditions Index.
The January reading of 2.7 was virtually unchanged from December, but FTR is projecting the month to be the low point for trucking conditions ahead of an expected bounce as the year progresses. While the US election result has put the trucking industry in an optimistic mood, FTR warns there are some risks associated with some of the economic proposals floated by the Trump administration, specifically the potential for trade wars and the corresponding effect on truck freight.
“It’s looking like 2017 will be a better year for the trucking industry,” said Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer of FTR. “This late recovery is consumer-driven, which is relatively light on increasing freight demand, but we will see modest growth. More importantly, the industry is really beginning to face up to the costs and changes from ELD implementation. We expect a productivity and capacity hit to the industry, though the effects will be felt differently, with early adopters ahead of the curve. One of the big issues we expect companies to continue to struggle with is the driver situation, with the number of new hires not keeping pace with overall demand for drivers. If capacity doesn’t meet demand, then truckers will be able to raise prices. However, we don’t expect to see that impact until late 2017, or into 2018.”