FTR index shows slow truck freight growth for January

by Truck News

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Growth in trucking transportation fell for the month of January, according to FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index, meaning current carrier capacity can easily handle freight demand.

But FTR is warning that the present market could begin to show a reaction to the possible regulatory crisis it said is coming in 2018 with federally mandated use of electronic logging devices (ELDs), feasibly moving the index into a double-digit positive range later this year.

With the economic recovery prolonged and market conditions slowly slipping and becoming more volatile, FTR indicated that while the forecast reveals a moderate recovery from a weak January showing, the rebound would be in line with modest freight growth.

“Growth in the highly visible long-haul dry van segment has notably slowed and has actually been negative for the last year,” said Jonathan Starks, COO for FTR. “The data that has come out of the spot market for the last year highlights those results with capacity much looser and rates down. However, the contract market has held up relatively well during that same stretch of time.”

Starks added that there was a much tougher negotiating environment for truckers heading into the spring.

“Headwinds to the recovery are building and 2016 is not likely to be as strong a year for truck operators,” he said. “After 2016, however, the situation could begin to reverse as carriers implement ELDs and speed limiters ahead of the mandatory dates set for late 2017 and early 2018. Even if the economy sours between now and then, the impact of those regulations could be enough to keep capacity relatively tight and rates neutral.”

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