According to FTR, a TCI reading above zero represents an adequate trucking environment, with readings above 10 indicating that volumes, prices and margin are in a good range for carriers.
For December, the most recent month for which data is available, the TCI headed up to 3.02, spurred on by gains in freight demand and spot rates. This topped recent readings of -1.58 in November and October’s -1.04, which marked an improvement over September’s -2.94, the lowest reading since May 2019.
What’s more, December represented the highest TCI reading going back to January 2019, as well as the first positive reading since checking in at 0.28 in last July. Looking ahead, FTR said it expects the TCI to head back to readings that are closer to neutral conditions before seeing modest improvement over the second half of this year.
“Market conditions were somewhat stronger than anticipated in December, but it’s probably a bit of an outlier,” said Avery Vise, FTR vice president of trucking, in a statement. “We don’t see that the fundamentals have changed materially. Utilization remains soft, and we don’t see near-term pressure from freight demand. A stronger recovery probably would require capacity exiting the market faster than has been the case so far.”
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