FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for October improved to a reading of -2.1, showing indications that the worst may well be over for shippers. They are seeing the best environment in more than a year because of stabilizing rates and moderating fuel prices. The range of SCI readings should continue this trend into 2019 possibly even entering positive territory by mid-year. Increasing capacity, rate stabilization and the continued soft fuel prices are all positive factors for shippers.
Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “Lower fuel prices and some lessening of the capacity crunch shippers experienced earlier this year have shifted overall conditions to a neutral posture. That stance is expected to be maintained through the first half of 2019 baring an external shock to the supply chain.”
The December issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published December 13, 2018, details the factors affecting the October Shippers Conditions Index. Also included is discussion regarding the likely return to stability in the trucking market in 2019 after a significant period of extraordinary strength.
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 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.
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