FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index falls, but still expected to grow in 2012

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index, as reported in the March 2012 Trucking Update, fell off marginally in January to a reading of 6.1. In spite of the lower index to start the year, FTR says it is forecasting a slow climb to strongly positive territory for trucking throughout 2012, with volumes and profits sufficient for investment for growth by year’s end.

The strengthening U.S. economy is expected to produce, at minimum, a 3.9 percent growth in truck freight, which will be greater than overall GDP performance, FTR says.

“The spike in the price of diesel due to Mideast tensions is one factor that has pulled the TCI down recently and downside pressure will continue until the price stabilizes,” says Larry Gross, FTR senior consultant. “However, barring a significant economic slowdown from an external factor such as an actual Mideast confrontation, the fundamentals for the trucking industry are expected to continue to strengthen throughout the year, and we could well see a surprise on the upside if important sectors such as automotive and even housing continue to improve.”

The Trucking Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies. Any reading above zero indicates an adequate trucking environment with readings above 10 a sign that volumes, prices and margin are in a good range for trucking companies.

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