FTR’s Trucking Condition Index (TCI) rose on a strong economy, along with pressure from hurricane recovery efforts and the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which have combined to create a tight market resulting in improving contract rates in the U.S.
The index still has further upside potential, FTR reported, noting conditions for carriers should remain good through 2018.
“The TCI is nearing a double-digit number, which indicates that there are big opportunities for carriers with regard to both rates and the loads they choose to carry. Of course, there are still quite a few ‘ifs’ in the near future,” explained Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer of FTR. “If the economy can continue to grow at around a 3% rate in Q4 and 2018 Q1, we will see freight demand maxing out any excess capacity. If the ELD implementation and enforcement stay on track, the spring will bring capacity utilization over 100% and the freight transportation market will be scrambling to align loads and trucks. If severe winter weather comes into play, transportation managers will be facing their toughest year since 2004. Carriers should be prepared for big changes, and big opportunities.”