US trucking conditions improve as rate increases take hold

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Trucking conditions in the US entered “very positive territory” in January, according to the latest Trucking Conditions Index compiled by FTR.

The January reading of 8.82 reflects a positive environment for motor carriers in early 2014. FTR says it expects the index to remain positive for truckers, as regulatory drag keeps capacity tight.

FTR says stronger pricing is beginning to take hold, following the introduction of more restrictive hours-of-service regulations last summer.

“While freight certainly took a hit to start 2014 numerous other indicators are positive for the industry and line up with our expectations for the remainder of the year,” said Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis with FTR. “Namely, the capacity situation for trucking was highlighted when the severe weather hit and capacity shortages started occurring. These shortages illustrate that the industry has been operating with much less surge capacity available than in the past, and spot market pricing responded and has stayed elevated through much of February. If a late winter storm were to hit just as the spring shipping season heats up in March we could see another significant jump in TL pricing.”

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