The trucking industry is towing too many empty trailers to gain the speed it needs to reach a recovery, says FTR Associates.
Excess capacity helped drag the transportation forecasting firm's Trucking Conditions Index down two points in May to -22, indicating the industry remains "in solidly negative territory" well below the neutral reading of 0, FTR said.
The index, published monthly in FTR's "The Trucker's Dashboard," combines five trucking statistics into one metric measuring the overall health of the industry. The decline in May broke with three consecutive monthly increases.
That three-month improvement "was a function of reductions in the interest rates that truckers are paying, as well as the general expectation that freight will stop falling later this year," said Noel Perry, senior consultant and managing director of FTR Consulting Group.
"Further improvement in the index will require that freight volumes actually stop contracting and rates begin to improve," he said. "This will not occur for some months yet and when it does, it will be a slow climb."
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