FTR Intermodal Competitive Index for December Remains in Moderately Positive Territory

02.16.17 | FTR

FTR’s Intermodal Competitive Index (ICI) for December, at a reading of 6.98, keeps the measure in reasonably positive territory.  Intermodal experienced good gains finishing up 2016.  FTR expects the ICI to improve in the coming months with a more robust rate environment. However, there are more downside risks for intermodal as the year progresses, dependent upon trade policy changes under the new administration.

The Intermodal Competitive Index is a compilation of factors affecting the competitive posture of the domestic North American intermodal sector versus over-the-road truck. Any reading below zero indicates a less-than-ideal environment for intermodal, while readings above zero are meant to communicate relatively favorable conditions. The higher the reading, the more favorable the intermodal environment appears to be. The ICI looks at a variety of factors including truck capacity, fuel prices, rail service, intermodal rates, and so forth. Details of the factors affecting the December Intermodal Competitive Index, along with a close look at market conditions and what might be expected going forward, can be found in the February issue of FTR’s Intermodal Update published February 7, 2017.

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

Larry Gross, Partner at FTR and principal author of Intermodal Update, commented, “About half of all North American intermodal volume depends, to a certain extent, on our international trade. This includes cross-border movements and import/export movements, both in international containers and as transloaded cargo in domestic containers and trailers. As of today, we have not programmed in any potential effects from changes in U.S. trade policy, but such alterations could have a profound negative impact on intermodal prospects. Most damaging would be if we got into a tit-for-tat trade conflict with one or more of our worldwide trading partners, a prospect we still consider unlikely as of now.”

For more information about how to subscribe to the Intermodal Update, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call (888) 988-1699 ext. 1 and follow us on Twitter @FTRintel. 

The Intermodal Update, launched by FTR during 2010 as a part of the firm’s Freight Focus, looks at conditions that affect companies involved in intermodal, including where growth is occurring and what type of equipment is moving. 

The Intermodal Update has both history and forecasts for volume trends by traffic lane, trends in equipment type and size, trends in imports and exports by port region.  

Click here to view a sample report >

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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.