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Intermodal Competitive Index for October Remains in Modestly Favorable Range

12.16.16 | FTR


FTR’s Intermodal Competitive Index (ICI) rose again in October to a reading of 5.26.  The updated October reading reflects continued moderately favorable conditions affecting the intermodal segment.  While intermodal rates are still lower than a year ago, they have started to show some improvement.

Larry Gross, Partner at FTR and principal author of Intermodal Update, commented, “The fundamentals in the domestic long-haul freight sector are beginning to turn in intermodal’s favor.  The economy has successfully negotiated soft conditions early in the year and appears to be back on a solid growth track.  Truck capacity is starting to tighten as shown by increasing spot market trucking rates.  Recent actions to restrict crude oil supplies by producer nations should result in an increase in the price of diesel.  Most importantly, implementation of ELDs is now just a year away.  While competitive conditions for intermodal remain challenging at the moment, we do expect to see sunnier skies in the coming months.”

The Intermodal Competitive Index is a compilation of factors affecting the competitive posture of the domestic North American intermodal sector versus over-the-road truck. Any reading below zero indicates a less-than-ideal environment for intermodal, while readings above zero are meant to communicate relatively favorable conditions. The higher the reading, the more favorable the intermodal environment appears to be. The ICI looks at a variety of factors including truck capacity, fuel prices, rail service, intermodal rates, and so forth. Details of the factors affecting the October Intermodal Competitive Index, along with a close look at market conditions and what might be expected going forward, can be found in the December issue of FTR’s Intermodal Update published December 2, 2016.

The Intermodal Update, launched by FTR during 2010 as a part of the firm’s Freight Focus, looks at conditions that affect companies involved in intermodal, including where growth is occurring and what type of equipment is moving. 

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The Intermodal Update has both history and forecasts for volume trends by traffic lane, trends in equipment type and size, trends in imports and exports by port region. For more information about how to subscribe to the Intermodal Update, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call (888) 988-1699 ext. 1.  

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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.