FTR’s August Shippers Conditions Index Shows Some Improvement

10.25.18 | FTR

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for August improved by a little more than one point from July to a reading of -8.8.  After hitting an all-time low in May, the SCI has steadily moved upward, albeit still in significantly negative territory.  Overall, shippers are experiencing some relief from excessively tight capacity, and FTR expects that to continue with rate growth moderating accordingly.  By mid to late 2019 the SCI could be recording neutral readings. 

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

Todd Tranausky,  Vice President for rail and intermodal at FTR, commented,  “Shippers have experienced some relief in recent weeks as trucking capacity has loosened and rail service stabilized. However, going into the peak season and the potential for some shippers to pull forward imported volumes, it will bear watching to see if service continues to improve through the end of 2018.”

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 October issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published October 5, 2018, details the factors affecting the May Shippers Conditions Index.  Also included is an analysis of what a (unlikely for now) recession might look like in order to more readily recognize the signs and forecast how such a scenario might affect transportation providers and suppliers.

For more information about how to subscribe to the Shippers Update, send an e-mail to [email protected] 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.