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FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Improves in May Reflecting Still Weak Contract Market Pricing

08.02.17 | FTR



FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May, as detailed in the July issue of the Shippers Update, improved from the previous month to a reading of -1.9.  The benign reading is a reflection of only moderately favorable truck freight growth and continued weak contract pricing.  Spot market pricing has been rising y/y for several months.  The Shippers Conditions Index is expected to have dynamic swings over the next year with shifts in overall capacity utilization and pricing taking effect as freight demand and regulations alter the landscape to differing degrees.  Indicators are currently pointing to tighter capacity at the new year eventually easing in early 2019 as regulatory drag slows.

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 July issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published July 10, details the factors affecting the May Shippers Conditions Index, along with discussion examining how the degree to which the new electronic logging mandate is enforced will affect overall capacity.

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


Jonathan Starks, Chief Operating Officer at FTR, commented, “Shippers conditions continue to be mild. This is in part because the economy hasn’t received the boost from the new Administration which many were hoping for. We are back at the status quo, with moderate growth in both the overall economy and truck freight. Contract pricing remains relatively favorable for shippers. It is only in the spot market, which continues to show strong results on both demand and rates, that we see the signs of changing conditions. We continue to expect implementation of ELDs, coupled with moderate increases in freight, to make for a more fraught environment for shippers. The closer we get to cresting 100% capacity utilization, the more worrisome the problem becomes.”

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.