FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index - Shippers Would Be Wise to Have Contingency Plans Ahead of Expected Deteriorating Conditions Through 2017

01.26.17 | FTR

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) improved slightly in November to a reading of 1.4.  However, this reading does not promise a positive outlook for shippers in 2017. FTR is forecasting steadily-deteriorating conditions for shippers through the year, as capacity tightens in reaction to stronger demand and the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate.  2017 will be a year of upside risks to truckload rates because of a tightened market, possible oil price inflation, and the chance of general inflation.

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 conditions for shippers are approaching critical levels, based on available capacity and expected costs.  The January issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published January 3, 2017, details the factors affecting the November Shippers Conditions Index, along with commentary updating the impact of pending regulations affecting trucking.  

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

Larry Gross, Partner and Senior Consultant at FTR, commented, “Although many shippers are saying, ‘We will believe it when we see it,’ our thesis that truck capacity will tighten significantly over the course of 2017 remains intact. Some may believe that the course of this mainly regulatory-driven event will be altered by the Trump administration, but our expectation is that the key change, namely the mandate for ELDs, will take effect in December as planned. This will cause substantial deterioration in the SI over the course of this year.  While the pace and even the magnitude of the deterioration is still somewhat uncertain, shippers would be wise to lay in contingency plans for dealing with this significant event.”

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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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.