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FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Slips in December to a 4.6 Reading

02.24.20 | FTR

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for December slipped to 4.6 from its November reading of 7.0. While not as strong as November, utilization and logistics costs remained positive factors, with December freight volume slightly negative. The only input to the SCI more positive in December versus November was fuel costs. The feared impact of IMO 2020 on fuel costs has not yet materialized. Diesel prices at the beginning of February were the lowest in more than two years.

FTR expects shipper conditions to remain slightly positive through 2020 but weaken further toward neutral later in the year.
 

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, “shippers remain in a very good place at the start of 2020. The coronavirus has muddled the 2020 picture a bit, by creating the potential for a surge of volumes and port congestion once the virus’ effects are resolved in China. But any potential issues from a surge are likely to be short lived because of the excess capacity available across freight modes as the year begins.”
 
The February issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published February 7 details the factors affecting the December Shippers Conditions Index. Also included in February is an analysis of key 2019 economic indicators in the consumer, industrial, and trade sectors in relation to the rest of the 2010s.
 
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. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem...and readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment. Double digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.

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 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. FTR’s experts, with over 250 years of combined experience in the transportation industry, provide quantitative analysis with historical and modal-specific insights. FTR’s reports, data, commentary, and insights help 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 U.S. freight transportation model. FTR’s Transportation Conference held annually in September in Indianapolis is a unique event bringing together every aspect of the freight transportation world into one place. For more information www.FTRconference.com

To learn more about FTR visit www.FTRintel.com, Follow us on twitter @FTRintel and connect with us on LinkedIn! To contact FTR, call 888-988-1699 or email [email protected]