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FTR's Shippers Conditions Index: Environment for shippers reflects balanced freight market.

03.27.19 | FTR

 
The environment for shippers, as measured by FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for January, reflects a balanced freight market. While the January SCI reading at 1.4 is slightly weaker than December’s 1.8 level, it continued in positive territory after consistent negative readings over the past two years. FTR forecasts the SCI to remain close to neutral through Q1 and then to rise slowly as the year progresses. However, even as the SCI is expected to peak in early 2019Q4, shippers’ conditions will be only marginally positive as capacity remains tight by historical standards.

Click here to view the latest release and an interactive graph of the SCI>


 
Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “While conditions for shippers are forecast to remain neutral to positive over the coming months, it is possible that the duration and extent of flooding in the U.S. Midwest could be a headwind to those improvements, depending on where your freight is moving. Overall stable fuel prices and more available capacity than was experienced in 2018 will create a relatively calm environment.”
 
The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market. These conditions are: freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence the shippers’ freight transport environment. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. A negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem...and readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment. Double digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.
 

The February issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published February 8, 2019, details the factors affecting the December Shippers Conditions Index. Also included is an analysis of the state of the spot market.

For more information about how to subscribe to the Shippers Update, send an e-mail to hlile@ftrintel.com or call Helen Lile at (888) 988-1699 ext. 1 and follow us on Twitter @FTRintel.


The Shippers Update, launched by FTR during 2010 as a part of the firm’s Freight Focus, looks at conditions that will affect the cost and efficiency of shipping goods via all transportation modes. North American shippers will find in one reference the essential information they need on freight volumes, equipment capacity and transport costs and rates.

The Shippers Update has both history and forecasts for four modal options: truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal and rail carload. The analysis includes the breakdown of total truck and rail volumes into major commodity segments. It also provides historical snapshots of inland water and air freight markets. The freight data is augmented by an abundant collection of supporting data covering macro-economics and the fuel market.
 
Click here to view a sample report >

About FTR
For more than two decades, FTR has been the thought leader in freight transportation forecasting in North America. The company’s national award-winning forecasters collect and analyze all data likely to impact freight movement, issuing consistently reliable reports for trucking, rail, and intermodal transportation, as well as providing demand analysis for commercial vehicle and railcar. FTR’s forecasting and specially designed reports have resulted in advanced planning and cost-savings for companies throughout the transportation sector.