BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — 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, FTR said.
Manufacturing is growing very slowly, and construction is weaker. However, consumer spending remains strong. Truckload rates are about 7.5% below 2019 with spot rates down nearly 18% whereas less-than-truckload 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.
“The relatively weak rate environment for truckload allows it to compete more effectively with intermodal,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “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 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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