FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index in July Near a Neutral Reading, Expected to Turn Negative

10.02.17 | FTR

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for July continued near zero, at a reading of -0.1, reflecting the dominance of contract pricing to the measure. While capacity is tightening noticeably, sharp segmentation trends have pushed the majority of market stress into spot markets. FTR forecasts further declines in this index during 2017 and 2018 as spot market prices continue to surge, with smaller -but notable- increases coming for the contract market. FTR has modestly revised its late year economics on improved expectations for investment and manufacturing. Hurricane recovery is expected to contribute additional stimulus several months out.

The September issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published September 10, details the factors affecting the July Shippers Conditions Index along with discussion covering the relationship between strong market conditions and driver shortages.

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

Jonathan Starks, Chief Operating Officer at FTR, commented, “Market conditions through the summer remained relatively subdued, but the environment has changed considerably since then. Prior to Hurricane Harvey, spot market rates were nearing gains of 20% y/y. The latest week puts gains approaching 30%. This will put significant pricing pressure on the contract portion of the market as we move into the 4th quarter. Hurricane disruptions will slowly subside over the next month, but recovery activity will stay elevated for several months. Combine that with the upcoming ELD implementation, elevated fuel prices, and modest acceleration in overall freight demand, and we have a market that is likely to turn much more negative as we finish off 2017 and move into 2018.”

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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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.