FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for April in Soft Negative Range Despite Tightening Capacity

07.10.17 | FTR

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for April, as detailed in the June issue of the Shippers Update, fell from the previous month to a reading of -3.6.  The modest deterioration of this index, leaving it in a soft negative range in spite of tightening capacity utilization, reflects the ability of shippers to so far fend off any pricing increases from their contract carriers.   Currently, FTR is forecasting the index to fall a little more through the year as capacity tightens further from an expected consumer bounce back after an anemic Q1.  However, it is not expected to fall into double digit negative range at any time during the forecasted period.

The SCI is a compilation of factors affecting the 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 costs. The June issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published June 10, details the factors affecting the April Shippers Conditions Index, along with discussion about current freight rates and why they are not rising in tandem with tight capacity utilization as can generally be anticipated.

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

Jonathan Starks, Chief Operating Officer at FTR, commented, “Strengthening economics are increasing the chance of capacity tightness late this year and into 2018. Despite the growing pressures from the market, the index has remained relatively stable, a testimony to the ability of contract trucking to sustain ever higher levels of capacity utilization without strong pricing pressure. The major takeaway here is the difference in prospect for contract and spot market players. Flexibility will be important, as changing market conditions in 2018 could easily invalidate budgets created in 2017. Notably, shippers will not be able to easily expand their baseload contract coverage to avoid spot market volatility.”

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.