FTR’s September Shippers Conditions Index Stays in Positive Territory

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September Shippers Condition Index is unchanged over August but forecast indicate upward trend.

Bloomington, Ind.– FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for September remained unchanged from August at a 6.4 reading. All measures included in the SCI were positive with less favorable fuel pricing offsetting more favorable freight volume, capacity utilization, and logistics cost factors.

FTR projects the Shippers Conditions Index to trend towards neutral through 2020 as freight demand softens and capacity utilization firms. The potential impact of a global reduction in the sulfur content of marine fuel due to IMO 2020 remains a wildcard.

Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “Shippers’ place in the freight market remains solidly positive as the year moves into its final quarter. We expect shippers’ position in the marketplace to slowly deteriorate in 2020 as capacity tightens and freight demand recovers.”

The November issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published November 7, 2019, details the factors affecting the September Shippers Conditions Index. Also included in November is an analysis of trucking failures, the total number of carriers operating and the effect on overall capacity.

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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