FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Soars to 41.3 Reading in April

06.30.20 | FTR

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for April soared to a reading of 41.3, more than double March’s 19.7 measure.  April’s reading is expected to be the peak for the SCI during this unprecedented time for transportation.   Although most shippers’ revenues suffered greatly in April, the month may never be matched in terms of freight market conditions.  May shippers’ conditions will not meet April but they could be the second-best ever.  After May, FTR forecasts more stability in the SCI but still at double-digit positive readings into 2021.

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 “While April’s SCI rating is strong, April was not necessarily as great a time to be a shipper as the result would imply because of the effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns all across the country. While the result will come down in May as capacity gets absorbed by the restart of manufacturing facilities, it will remain a good time to be a shipper through this year and into 2021.”
The June issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published June 6 details the factors affecting the April Shippers Conditions Index. Additional commentary updates the COVID-19 discussion and the uncertainties likely to impact the recovery.
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.

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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