BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Transportation analysts FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) moved back into negative territory, falling three points from August to a -2.4 reading in September, the company reported November 29. In September, the slow but steady build in regulatory drag moved the index back into negative territory that will not reach its nadir until late 2017 or early 2018, FTR stated. New regulations are beginning to tighten capacity and, consequently, truck rates are turning upward, making shipping costs, including spot rates higher, FTR reported.
“While the Shippers Condition Index moved into negative territory, we are not seeing any material changes to shippers at the moment,” said Eric Starks, chairman and CEO at FTR. “There is still plenty of truck and rail capacity and rates remain stable. We don’t anticipate any ‘real’ changes for shippers until late in Q1 or Q2 of next year. The shipping season is winding down, and demand for shipping will be in a seasonally soft period for the next few months. One item that we are keenly focused on is the implementation of Electronic Logging Devices by the trucking industry over the next year. If regulatory changes delay this, then it would not tighten truck capacity in the second half of next year as is currently anticipated. Only time will tell.”
Any reading below zero indicates a less-than-ideal environment for shippers, FTR stated. Readings below -10 signal conditions for shippers are approaching critical levels, based on available capacity and expected costs.
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