BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for September reflected continued improvement in the environment for shippers with a new reading of -7.6, more than one point better than August, freight forecasting company FTR has reported.
Overall conditions are still not favorable for shippers, but FTR’s SCI measure is expected to steadily moderate in 2019.
Increasing capacity and productivity in both truck and intermodal, and the resulting stabilization in rate growth, should impact shippers positively through next year with the SCI forecast to reach a neutral reading by the fourth quarter of 2019.
“The slow improvement in conditions for shippers that was present toward the end of the summer continued in September, but it will be a slow crawl back to a neutral position over the next year,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “Conditions for shippers are not as bad as they were earlier in 2018, but remain a long way from ideal.”
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.
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