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FTR’s March Shippers Conditions Index Reflects Continuing Tough Environment for Shippers

05.24.18 | FTR


The March Shippers Conditions Index reading from FTR remained in double digit negative territory at -10.5 reflecting the continued tough environment facing shippers.  Conditions remain highly unfavorable with tight capacity and rising rates in both truckload and intermodal sectors.  Shippers may see some relief after the second quarter and conditions may improve further during Q4.  One bright spot for shippers is that the hard enforcement of the ELD regulation, based on spot-market data, does not appear to have had a major impact. 


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


Jonathan Starks, Chief Operating Officer at FTR, commented, “Economic indicators look solid, freight demand continues to rise, and FTR sees no significant slowdown through 2019 for these conditions. Indeed, spot market rates are setting new record highs as the peak shipping season comes into full swing.”

Todd Tranausky, Senior Research Analyst at FTR, commented, “Although negative conditions persist for shippers, the latest month saw some stabilization. However, the combination of tight truck capacity and challenging rail service is unlikely to abate in the near term. Shippers need to plan on coping with these difficult conditions for a sustained period.”

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.

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.
 
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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.