FTR’s October Shippers Conditions Index Indicates the Worst May Be Over

12.18.18 | FTR

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for October improved to a reading of -2.1, showing indications that the worst may well be over for shippers.  They are seeing the best environment in more than a year because of stabilizing rates and moderating fuel prices.  The range of SCI readings should continue this trend into 2019 possibly even entering positive territory by mid-year.  Increasing capacity, rate stabilization and the continued soft fuel prices are all positive factors for shippers. 

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,  “Lower fuel prices and some lessening of the capacity crunch shippers experienced earlier this year have shifted overall conditions to a neutral posture. That stance is expected to be maintained through the first half of 2019 baring an external shock to the supply chain.”

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 December issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published December 13, 2018, details the factors affecting the October Shippers Conditions Index.  Also included is discussion regarding the likely return to stability in the trucking market in 2019 after a significant period of extraordinary strength.

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.