FTR Shippers Conditions Index Reflects Pullback From Capacity Crisis


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for April rose one point to a reading of -7.7, reflecting a mild pullback from a  critical capacity possibility reflected in the previous month’s reading.  However, this one month change does not signal any real improvement in trucking capacity which remains extremely tight.  The index remains in low territory reflecting the 98-99% readings for truck capacity utilization, with little relief in sight until the next recession.  Freight growth should remain strong through the balance of the year, and the rate shippers pay for truck freight will continue to rise.

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

Eric Starks, FTR’s President, commented, “The shipping situation is not as critical as it was just a few months ago when weather related issues disrupted the supply chain. However, we are still near a tipping point. If the economy starts to accelerate as we move through the summer months, additional strain would be put on an already fragile capacity situation.  Shippers should expect carriers to push rates higher as we move through the year. The biggest pressure will come from trucking companies who continue to struggle finding qualified drivers to move freight.”

The Shippers Conditions Index 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 April Shippers Conditions Index, along with additional commentary covering recession possibilities and what affect a recession might have on trucking, are found in the June issueof FTR’s Shippers Update published June 9, 2014.

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.

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.