FTR Associates’ Shippers Conditions Index for April improved slightly from the previous month to a reading of negative 6.9.
Overall, the index has shown that truck freight is improving. However, with fleets managing productivity, there are no serious capacity issues yet and rates continue to move “very slowly,” according to FTR. The company said it expects a significant acceleration in rates when the market responds to hours of service changes in July, although this reaction may take several months to affect shippers.
“We are standing at the edge of the hours of service revision that should initiate tightening in the truck freight sector,” said Lawrence Gross, FTR’s senior consultant, in a written statement. “However, at the same time, while the economy is continuing to slowly grow, the manufacturing segment that forms a key component driving truck freight demand, is faltering. If this continues, it may take out a bit of this year’s anticipated second-half rate sting.”