FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for September Reflects a Marginally Improved Environment

12.01.20 | FTR

While the FTR Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for September moved into a positive range, the environment for shippers is hardly good. Considering that the average SCI reading in 2019 was +6.0, the increase from -1.79 in August to +0.97 in September is nothing to cheer about. Favorable trends in volume, capacity utilization, and fuel costs offset the unfavorable rate environment during the month. 
The outlook is mostly negative for shippers through the balance of 2020. After modest improvements in early 2021, FTR forecasts the SCI to turn sharply negative mid-2021 due to tighter capacity and higher shipping rates.

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, “There is significant uncertainty in the outlook for shippers as the health of the underlying economy remains in doubt. The remainder of the fourth quarter will be challenged for shippers, but the landscape could change dramatically between now and the early part of 2021.”
The November issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published November 6, provides a detailed analysis of the factors affecting the September Shippers Conditions Index and provides the forecast for this index through September of 2021. Additional commentary discusses the confluence of factors that are spurring an unprecedented surge in newly authorized motor carriers.
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]