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ECONOMIC TRUCKING TRENDS: Trucking conditions continue to improve; spot market steady – Truck News

“Better days are in sight for trucking companies.”

Words fleets are eager to hear, coming this week from FTR’s vice-president of trucking, Avery Vise. But the recovery is coming slowly and there still remains an imbalance between capacity and freight demand.

TCI climbs upward in April

Trucking conditions improved slightly in April according to FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI), which jumped up to -1.95 but remained in negative territory.

TCI chart

Still – it was a better month than March, which came in at -7.25. Improving freight rates and financing costs helped improve the outlook for fleets, while freight volumes also improved.

But the index hasn’t seen positive territory since early 2022 and FTR expects it to remain mostly negative through the rest of this year.

“Better days are in sight for trucking companies, but the market still needs to work through the tough combination of too much capacity and sluggish freight demand,” reasoned FTR vice-president of trucking, Avery Vise.  

“The May payroll jobs figures for trucking offered some encouragement that this transition is underway, but a healthier situation for carriers will require continued rightsizing of capacity and stronger volume. We still do not expect consistently favorable market conditions for carriers until early next year.”

spot market metrics graphic

Spot market conditions improving

Truckstop and FTR Transportation Intelligence for the week ended June 7 showed stable rates as load postings jumped sharply.

Excluding the week of Roadcheck, the Market Demand Index at 81.7 was the strongest level since the first week of 2023.

While the week was generally positive, rates for dry van and refrigerated loads decreased while flatbed rates improved for the fourth straight week – a first since January.

Rates were still down year over year across all equipment types, but are decreasing in line with seasonal expectations.


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