FTR’s September Shippers Conditions Index Continues to Improve with Positive Trend Expected Into 2019

11.27.18 | FTR

 FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for September reflected continued improvement in the environment for shippers with a new reading of -7.6, more than one point better than August. Overall conditions are still not favorable for shippers but FTR’s SCI measure is expected to steadily moderate in 2019.  Increasing capacity and productivity in both truck and intermodal, and the resulting stabilization in rate growth, should impact shippers positively through next year with the SCI forecast to reach a neutral reading by 2019Q4.  

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,  “The slow improvement in conditions for shippers that was present toward the end of the summer continued in September, but it will be a slow crawl back to a neutral position over the next year. Conditions for shippers are not as bad as they were earlier in 2018, but remain a long way from ideal.”

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 November issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published November 5, 2018, details the factors affecting the May Shippers Conditions Index.  Also included is an analysis of the fundamental factors in play and the dynamics of the current housing market.

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.