FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index fell in February, and adjusted for the severe weather the index would have been above a reading of 10, making it the tightest truck market on record, the group said April 2.
The decline to 7.54 from 8.82 in January reflects “good news” for trucking fleets, along with a warning to shippers seeking carriers to move goods, the transportation forecasting firm said.
“Both carriers and shippers have to be on the lookout for a potential tipping point when freight demand is able to keep the current high level of truck use well into the summer months. Such an environment would necessitate shippers bidding up rates to maintain secure capacity during the fall shipping season,” Jonathan Starks, FTR’s director of transportation analysis, said in a statement.
“FTR continues to evaluate the freight environment and currently sees enough moderation in truck demand to get through the year without a crisis,” Starks said. “But it would only take a relatively modest and short uptick in the industrial sector for capacity to tighten significantly further. We advise everyone to stay tuned to the manufacturing data to see if the thaw continues.”