According to US consulting company FTR, the 'Trucking Conditions Index' for April reflects a “strongly favorable environment” for trucking, increasing another 0.7 points for the month to a reading of 13.8. A reading above zero indicates a “generally positive” environment for truckers, while readings above 10 signal that volumes, prices and margins are likely to be in a solidly favorable range.
FTR reported that modest rate increases are expected to resume as freight enjoys reasonable volume growth in the US, alongside the reduced trucking productivity that is the result of increased regulations. In fact, it is forecast that new regulations will take at least three per cent out of trucking capacity going forward.
Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis for FTR, commented: “Recent data point to a fragile manufacturing sector. This is a concern as industrial movements account for a significant portion of truck freight.
“Despite the concern I believe that manufacturing is pausing rather than starting a downturn. As long as the modest economic growth continues, trucking should be able to show further growth in 2013.”