FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) rose to a good positive reading in June of 8.8, up two points from the updated May measure. The June SCI reading is the strongest since February 2016.
Freight-related indicators are mixed. Manufacturing is growing very slowly, and construction is weaker. However, consumer spending remains strong. TL rates are about 7.5% below 2019 with spot rates down nearly 18% whereas LTL rates have been higher this year. Both are expected to decline in 2020. Intermodal rates continue to be soft with rail expecting 5% growth in 2019.
Note: FTR has revised the historical data for the Shippers Conditions Index back to January 2014 based on significant changes resulting from their July 2019 Freight•cast model update.
Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “The relatively weak rate environment for truckload allows it to compete more effectively with intermodal. Intermodal volumes have been stymied by trade headwinds, changes in rail service offerings, overall rail service levels, and the weak truck market. International and domestic intermodal each struggled in June with weak results.”
The August issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published August 7, 2019, details the factors affecting the June Shippers Conditions Index. Also included in the August report is a detailed explanation of the Freight•cast model update.
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 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
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