Don't miss next month's Trucking Conditions Index. Sign up to receive updates.

Trucking Conditions Index Plunges into Negative Territory in March

Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for March was negative for the first time since May 2020, plunging to a reading of -7.38 from February’s positive 12.06 reading. As expected, surging diesel prices in March primarily caused the index’s fall, but a weaker positive contribution from freight rates also was a factor. Although the outlook for trucking conditions generally is for modestly positive conditions, uncertainty is rising in several key areas, including fuel costs, capacity utilization, and rates.

Avery outside_cropped

Avery Vise

VP of Trucking

Connect on LinkedIn

Avery Vise commented, “Given the unprecedented surge in diesel prices during early March, a negative reading for the Trucking Conditions Index was hardly surprising. Fuel costs apparently will represent a big negative factor for May as well. The road ahead looks treacherous, but it is not necessarily bad for carriers. A stronger supply of drivers is enabling a shift of activity back to the contract environment from spot, but overall freight volume so far has remained strong. Consumer spending is still robust even when adjusted for inflation, and industrial activity is growing. In the near term, the larger uncertainties relate to potential external shocks – such as the pandemic-related lockdowns in China – and the fate of small carriers that are seeing weaker spot rates and soaring fuel costs. A flood of those drivers back to the security of working directly for larger carriers might accelerate a market normalization, although equipment availability could limit a downside on utilization and rates.”

The Trucking Conditions Index explained >

Cut through the noise-Trucking Update - PR LP_v1