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Trucking Index to Hit Double-Digits in 2013

NASHVILLE, TN. — It was no surprise, FTR said today, that their Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) started to rise significantly in September — a 65 percent increase over August's index, bringing it to a reading of 9.6.

While the index eased through October, FTR is forecasting a continued rise in the index going into 2013, saying that it will hit double-digits in late spring. (A reading above 10 signals that volumes, prices, and margins are in favor of trucking.)

"The market," FTR said in a statement, "will be responding to tightening conditions in 2013 with increased capacity utilization caused by solid freight growth and the new H.O.S. rules now scheduled to take effect in June."

According to Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis for FTR, the big driver affecting the TCI is a sharp increase in capacity utilization. "Regulations adversely affecting trucking’s capacity to haul," he explained, "especially the new HOS 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," he added, "may not be as positively impacted if the driver shortage leads to stronger increases in driver pay.”

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