FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for February Reflects a Somewhat Benign Environment Ahead of Expected Capacity Tightening

05.01.17 | FTR

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for February, as detailed in the April Issue of the Shippers Update, reflects somewhat moderate market conditions early in 2017 with a reading of -2.8.  While February’s reading is less negative than January, FTR expects a tightening market late in the year with an increasingly negative SCI which reflects that.  The moderation of FTR’s regulatory forecast will be offset by an expected increase in freight demand as economic growth improves.

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 conditions for shippers are approaching critical levels, based on available capacity and expected costs.  The April issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published April 10, 2017, details the factors affecting the February Shippers Conditions Index, along with an update of the regulatory environment affecting trucking.

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

Jonathan Starks, Chief Operating Officer at FTR, commented, “The SCI compiles 4 key metrics into a singular view of how the market is operating. It keys in on freight demand, transport utilization levels, transport costs, and fuel pricing. In February, there was little change in most of these metrics aside from fuel pricing. Diesel fuel prices dropped a slight amount in February after jumping 7 cents in January, and the outlook for pricing is for relative stability during most of 2017.

“The biggest drag on the index continues to be the impact of the tightening capacity environment that we have seen emerge over the last 9 to 12 months. The spot market gives us a quick indication of this tightening, with the Market Demand Index (MDI) from up more than 80% versus February of 2016.”

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.