While still not showing true growth, things in trucking are improving, according to the most recent edition of the Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) issued this week by freight transportation consultancy FTR.
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 October, the most recent month for which data is available, the TCI reading was -1.04, marking an improvement over September’s -2.94, the lowest reading since last May.
FTR said that freight demand paced the October improvement, adding that even though the industrial economy is still dealing with challenges, there is some cause for optimism, in the form of strong housing numbers. Looking ahead, the firm said that it expects trucking conditions to remain steady in what it called a mediocre environment and the TCI expected to be close to neutral through the first half of 2020.
“Although we continue to see high-profile trucking failures – often due to internal management issues – we see a generally stable environment for the industry,” said Avery Vise, FTR vice president of trucking, in a statement. “Manufacturing is weakening, but residential construction is firming, and job growth and consumer spending remain strong. While we expect little freight growth in most segments, volume remains solid by historical standards.”
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