FTR Shippers Conditions Index Continues to Decline in August


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) continued to rest in substantially negative territory in August with a reading of -8.7. The SCI has slowly declined through the summer months reflecting the offsetting forces of lost trucking productivity and capacity due to the revised Hours of Service regulations on trucking capacity versus relative modest freight demand and moderating fuel costs. For the time being shipping rates continue to be held in check. The SCI is expected to remain in a tight range close to the current reading through October or possibly November.

The SCI is a compilation of factors affecting shippers transport environment. Any reading below zero indicates a less-than-ideal environment for shippers. Readings below 10 signal that conditions for shippers are approaching critical levels based on available capacity and expected rates. Details of the factors affecting the August SCI are found in the October issue of FTR's Shippers Update published October 11.

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

Larry Gross, Senior Consultant for FTR, commented: “Early Q3 financial reporting by the publicly traded large motor carriers appears to be confirm that the HOS changes are hurting productivity and raising trucker’s operating costs.  However, carriers are still finding it difficult to pass these costs along to shippers due to lackluster demand for freight.  We expect that rates will eventually begin to respond to this cost pressure and begin to rise, but perhaps not before next year.”

Additional commentary included in the current issue of the Shippers Update looks at the issues in Washington and how they are likely to affect transportation.

The Shippers Update, launched by FTR during 2010 as a part of the firm’s Freight Focus series, 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.

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.