This information is contained in the December Trucking Update. FTR forecasts a continued rise in the Trucking Conditions Index until it reaches double-digit readings in late spring. The market will be responding to tightening conditions in 2013 with increased capacity utilization caused by solid freight growth and the new Hours of Service rules scheduled to take effect in June.
The Trucking Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies. Any reading above zero indicates a positive environment for truckers. Readings above 10 signal that volumes, prices, and margins are likely to be in a solidly favorable range for trucking companies.
Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis for FTR, says, "The big driver affecting the Truckers Conditions Index is a sharp increase in capacity utilization. Regulations adversely affecting trucking's capacity to haul, especially the new H.O.S. rule in the pipeline for implementation, will cause an ever-tightening condition. When we add in the expectation of further freight growth we can see a possible crisis unfolding in late 2013 where there simply are not enough available hauling hours to meet shipping demands. These conditions put the carrier in the driver's seat, allowing the trucker to choose what freight to haul and at what cost. Margins may not be as positively impacted if the driver shortage leads to stronger increases in driver pay."
The Trucking Update, published monthly, is part of FTR's Freight Focus Series and reports data that directly impacts the activity and profitability of truck fleets. As part of the Trucking Update, FTR forecasts expected trends in this data and the probable short- and long-term consequences. December's Notes by the Dashboard Light makes the argument that Superstorm Sandy will, in the short run, be positive for trucking.
Source: FTR Associates
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