FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Positive August Reading Will be Short Lived

10.28.16 | FTR

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for August moved marginally up from July to a low positive reading of 1.1.  This trend will not be maintained, as shipping rates are expected to increase as available capacity is negatively affected by improved economic conditions and new regulatory drag affecting the trucking industry in 2017.  The current wave of new regulations will continue through 2019, perhaps driving the SCI to new lows.

The Shippers Conditions Index 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.  Details of the factors affecting the August Shippers Conditions Index, along with commentary suggesting some caution in spite of currently strong economic indicators, are found in the October issue of FTR’s Shippers Update published October 6, 2016.

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

Jonathan Starks, COO at FTR, commented, “Shippers are still able to take advantage of a moderately loose trucking environment. This is largely due to the continued weakness in economic and freight conditions, especially in manufacturing and mining. In addition, shippers continue to benefit from the fuel environment, which has remained subdued, helping maintain cost reductions. Earlier this year, a spike in fuel prices seemed a distinct possibility. Now, a stable pricing environment seems the mostly likely scenario. That means that costs won’t fall significantly, but neither should fuel costs surge higher. This makes driver wages one of the key items to understand going into 2017. Shippers that understand how to best utilize a drivers time will be able to take significant advantage of that process to help drive better rates during a time in which the market may once again see 2014-like surges in prices.”

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.

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.

For more information about how to subscribe to the Shippers Update, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call Ryan Beall at (888) 988-1699 ext. 1.
Click here to view a sample report >