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FTR Says Trucking Conditions Index for January Unchanged, But Better Year Ahead

Posted on 3/20/2017 by Gwen Brown

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for January was basically unchanged from December at a reading of 2.7. As detailed in the March issue of the Trucking Update, FTR expects January will be the low point for trucking conditions ahead of an expected bounce as 2017 progresses. The election results have put the industry in an optimistic mood; however, FTR cautions that there are risks associated with some economic proposals being considered by the new administration and Congress.

Details of the January TCI are found in the March issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published Feb. 28, 2017. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section in the current issue presents a summary of FTR’s strenuous debate over the likely macro and industry-specific outcomes of actions expected under President Trump. Along with the TCI and ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light,’ Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.

Jonathan Starks, Chief Operating Officer at FTR, commented, “It’s looking like 2017 will be a better year for the trucking industry. This late recovery is consumer driven, which is relatively light on increasing freight demand, but we will see modest growth. More importantly, the industry is really beginning to face up to the costs and changes from ELD implementation. We expect a productivity and capacity hit to the industry, though the effects will be felt differently, with early adopters ahead of the curve. One of the big issues we expect companies to continue to struggle with is the driver situation, with the number of new hires not keeping pace with overall demand for drivers. If capacity doesn’t meet demand, then truckers will be able to raise prices. However, we don’t expect to see that impact until late 2017, or into 2018.”

“We are also closely tracking government policies and actions. The main concern continues to be the possibility of trade wars which could have immediate and detrimental impacts on freight transportation.”

Trucking Update, published monthly, is part of FTR’s Freight Focus series and reports data that directly impacts the activity and profitability of truck fleets. As part of the Trucking Update, FTR forecasts expected trends in this data and the probable short and long term consequences. For more information on how to subscribe to Trucking Update, or other publications within the Freight Focus series, send an email to or call 1-888-988-1699, ext. 1.

For more than two decades, FTR has been the thought leader in freight transportation forecasting in North America. The company’s national award-winning forecasters collect and analyze all data likely to impact freight movement, issuing consistently reliable reports for trucking, rail, and intermodal transportation, as well as providing demand analysis for commercial vehicle and railcar. FTR’s forecasting and specially designed reports have resulted in advanced planning and cost-savings for companies throughout the transportation sector.

For more information about the work of FTR, visit, follow on Twitter @ftrintel, or call 1-888-988-1699,
ext. 1.