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US trucking conditions soften slightly in January: FTR



BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Trucking conditions in the US weakened in January, according to the latest FTR Trucking Conditions Index, which dropped 34% to a reading of 7.8.

The drop reflects weaker inputs from freight rates, load growth and capacity, the industry forecaster explained. However, FTR expects the index to maintain a high level and to move upward again later this year, as the industry braces for another round of regulatory drag.

“Despite the drop in the TCI from December to January, the index remains at a high level and is only slightly below the average score for 2014,” said Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis, FTR.

“A drop was expected since the December TCI spike was caused by the rapid drop in diesel prices. Diesel prices have now bottomed in early February and are beginning to rise slowly, adding 11 cents at the start of March. Diesel’s impact on the TCI will slowly subside in 2015 but stay positive, unless the volatile energy markets jump higher.”

Since weather this winter was less disruptive than last year, Starks said he expects capacity to be more readily available during the spring shipping season. The rollback of the US hours-of-service rules is also contributing to greater trucking productivity, helping boost capacity.

 


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