Trucking Conditions Index Impacted by Rate & Volume Weakness

FTR - Transportation Intelligence

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index Declined in February Due to Rate and Volume Weakness

Bloomington, IN – (Trailer Technician) – FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index in February declined to -5.17 from January’s -1.71 reading, reflecting weaker freight rates and volume. Those headwinds for trucking companies more than offset slight improvements in utilization and fuel costs. Financing costs remain a negative factor for carriers, but they are largely stable. The TCI is forecast to remain in negative territory until well into 2024.

Trucking Conditions Index - Feb 2023

Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking, commented, “While market conditions for trucking companies weakened in February, the relatively better – though still negative – TCI in January was the outlier. The industrial and consumer sectors are sluggish, although spending on goods is still elevated and consumer inflation is slowing. Freight volume is holding up better than many anticipated, but downside risks are substantial. Although fears of a major banking crisis have abated since March, tighter lending standards by banks on top of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes could slow the economy further.”

Avery Vise - VP of Trucking
Avery Vise - VP of Trucking

Details of the February TCI are found in the April 2023 issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published on March 31. The April edition also includes commentary detailing the annual revision of industrial production and manufacturing data. Beyond the TCI and additional commentary, the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, and the economy.

The TCI tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the U.S. truck market. These conditions are: freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel prices, and financing costs. The individual metrics are combined into a single index indicating the industry’s overall health. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings in either direction suggest significant operating changes are likely.

In addition to the monthly updates on trucking conditions, FTR offers a weekly Trucking Market Update on the State of Freight Podcast. The weekly update, hosted by Avery Vise, covers spot market and economic indicators and major industry developments. Listen to recent episodes and download the accompanying graphics for the latest episode.

About FTR

For more than 30 years, FTR has served as the industry leader in freight transportation forecasting for the shipping, trucking, rail, intermodal, equipment, and financial communities in North America. With over 250 years of combined experience in the transportation industry, FTR experts provide quantitative analysis with historical and modal-specific insights. FTR’s reports, data, commentary, and insights help clients evaluate market risks, identify new opportunities, and make informed decisions.

FTR is the only company with a complete set of freight data for all modes of transportation with detail at the 3 Digit STCC commodity level. FTR tracks and forecasts 200+ unique commodity groups both quarterly and annually using their proprietary Freight•cast U.S. freight transportation model.

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