Trucking conditions improved in December, says FTR

Trucking conditions improved in December thanks to factors including falling diesel prices, higher freight volumes and strong rates, according to FTR. The analysts expect trucking conditions to remain positive throughout 2022, with some gradual easing, although that will depend in part on fuel prices.

"Government data concerning the labor market is starting to reinforce our analysis that overall driver capacity is not as tight as would be implied by stubbornly high freight rates," said Avery Vise, FTR's vice-president of trucking. "We still believe that the distribution of drivers in the market rather than the total number of drivers is the key issue. "The market could remain stressed until capacity stops shifting from larger carriers to smaller ones.

Potential catalysts for reversing this shift include continued sharp increases in fuel costs, a falloff in freight demand, or continued incremental gains in the driver supply among larger carriers, but none of those developments is a sure bet."

FTR's Trucking Conditions Index for December - measuring freight volumes, rates, fleet capacity, fuel prices and financing - reached its highest level since May 2021.