NASHVILLE, Ind. — Trucking conditions improved in August, rising 1.4 points from July to a reading of 5.8, according to the latest Trucking Conditions Index, published by FTR.
The index has been in mildly positive territory, but without clear direction, since the economy weakened in early 2011, according to FTR officials. FTR expects trucking conditions to improve in 2013 because of modestly better economics and a strong increase in capacity utilization stemming from added constraints on trucking from federal regulations taking effect in mid-year 2013.
The Trucking Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies. Any reading above zero indicates a positive environment for truckers. Readings above 10 signal that volumes, prices, and margins are in a solidly favourable range for trucking companies.
“Setting aside the inherent economic risks at the moment, we expect the rate environment to improve for fleets as capacity tightens in 2013 when more stringent Hours-of-Service rules go into effect,” said Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis for FTR. “This will also have the effect of worsening the driver shortage, moving the situation from the currently ‘tight-but-manageable’ level towards a more acute shortage, similar to that experienced back in 2004, when the last major rule change went into effect. Importantly, truck fleets will also need to keep a keen eye on the economic environment heading into 2013 because a major downshift in growth would have major negative implications on margins just as the new tranche of HoS regulations go into effect.”
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