Friday, March 16, 2018

FTR shippers index hike will be short-lived, analyst says

Monday, June 22, 2015
Shippers are in what might be considered "the eye of the storm," according to one FTR official.
Shippers are in what might be considered "the eye of the storm," according to one FTR official.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for April improved significantly to a reading of -0.7 after a sharp decline in the previous month.

The rise in the index for April, impacted by the temporary cessation of regulatory drag and drops in fuel pricing, will be short lived, however, according to FTR Senior Consultant Larry Gross.

These positive conditions for shippers are expected to evaporate as a result of an expected rise in diesel prices and the building of regulatory drag over the next couple of years on market capacity, he said.

The Shippers Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting the shippers transport environment.  Any reading below zero indicates a less-than-ideal environment for shippers. Readings below 10 signal that conditions for shippers are approaching critical levels, based on available capacity and expected rates. Details of the factors affecting the April Shippers Conditions Index, along with an in-depth look at current freight conditions, are found in the June issue of FTR’s Shippers Update published June 8, 2015.

“Shippers are in what might be considered ‘the eye of the storm’ right now,” Gross said.  “After a very tight situation last year, conditions have eased as economic growth has slowed while truck capacity is relatively abundant following the Congressional roll-back of the 34-hour reset regulation.  Additionally, fuel prices are down.  We see little probability of any big near-term increase in demand, but capacity will inevitably begin to tighten once again next year, even at current demand levels, as the implementation date of more new safety regulations including the electronic logging device mandate draws nearer.”

Shippers Update, launched by FTR during 2010 as a part of the firm’s Freight Focus series, 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. 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 plus intermodal. The freight data is augmented by an abundant collection of supporting data covering macroeconomics and the fuel market.

For more information about the work of FTR, visit, follow on Twitter @ftrintel, or call Ryan Beall at (888) 988-1699 Ext. 46.

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