FTR Intermodal Competitive Index for May Reflects Challenging Intermodal Environment

07.11.16 | FTR

FTR’s newly introduced Intermodal Competitive Index (ICI) dropped 1.2 points in May to a reading of 3.5. This was the second straight decline, and it sits at the lowest level seen since last September. The May reading reflects that the domestic intermodal sector is still experiencing somewhat difficult competitive conditions, but that the overall situation remains mildly favorable from an intermodal standpoint.

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 May Intermodal Competitive Index, along with a close look at market conditions and what might be expected going forward, are found in the July issue of FTR’s Intermodal Update published July 6, 2016.

Larry Gross, Partner at FTR and principal author of Intermodal Update, commented, “May’s ICI was adversely affected by relatively weak intermodal volumes and downward rate pressure. However, while intermodal is not currently experiencing the robust growth to which we have been accustomed, the fundamentals still look solid, with truck capacity expected to tighten as we move into 2017 due to the approaching Federal Electronic Logging Device mandate. Fuel prices are also moving up, which provides some tailwind for intermodal.”
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.

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. For more information about how to subscribe to the Shippers Update, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call (888) 988-1699 ext. 1.  

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