The October Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) dropped slightly from September, but still remains high due to capacity tightness from regulatory drag, FTR Associates said. The fresearch firm said the October reading is 9.18.

Truck utilization is in the range where increasing capacity constraints put upward pressure on rates, FTR noted. Slowing regulatory momentum would ease this situation, but, if increased economic growth is realized in 2014, it will further increase shipping rates and add to a positive trucking bottom line.

The details of the October TCI Index are found in the December issue of the Trucking Update published Nov. 26, 2013.

“While the total truck industry is showing solid freight growth, the highly visible dry van sector has been relatively stagnant for most of 2013,” said Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis.

“However, as cost increases continue to move higher," he continued, "especially following the implementation of new HOS regulations this summer, we look for rates to follow suit. They began moving up during Q3 but not sufficiently enough to make up for the increased costs, and carriers’ margins deteriorated. The increased public rhetoric from fleet executives about this issue is setting up the scene for continued rate movement into 2014.”