FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for July Falls to Negative Territory

09.24.20 | FTR

The FTR Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) fell into negative territory for the first time since August 2018, with a -0.36 reading. After a huge positive spike as COVID-19 impacted freight movement, the SCI now reflects a continued weakening of shippers’ market conditions. Freight volume and utilization were actually more favorable to shippers in July, but the rate environment swung from significantly positive in June to a significantly negative reading in July.
After a near term slightly negative view for the SCI, FTR expects potential increased capacity to push the index back into the positive range by Q4 and through 2021. However, continued high capacity utilization is a significant risk.

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

Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “It has been harder than expected to bring truck drivers back into the driver pool. This has created tightness in the truckload market that has bled over into the intermodal space. It is unknown how long the present situation will last, as it may be related to retail restocking or part of a longer-term shift in spending away from services and toward goods. A shift toward goods would result in stronger freight demand and worse conditions for shippers.”
The September issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published September 9, details the factors affecting the June Shippers Conditions Index and provides the forecast for this index through June of 2021. The additional commentary in this report analyzes the risks to the freight market from inventories-to-sales ratio disparities in the supply chain resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.

For more information call 888-988-1699 or email [email protected]

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 30 years, FTR has served as the industry leader in freight transportation forecasting for the shipping, trucking, rail, intermodal, equipment, and financial communities in North America. With over 250 years of combined experience in the transportation industry, FTR’s experts provide quantitative analysis with historical and modal-specific insights. FTR’s reports, data, commentary, and insights help their clients evaluate market risks, identify new opportunities, and make informed decisions.
FTR is the only company with a complete set of freight data for all modes of transportation with detail at the 3 Digit STCC commodity level. FTR tracks and forecasts 200+ unique commodity groups both quarterly and annually using their proprietary Freight•cast™ freight forecasting model. 
To learn more about FTR visit, Follow us on twitter @FTRintel and connect with us on LinkedIn. To contact FTR, call 888-988-1699 or email [email protected]