With a near neutral reading of 0.6, February is the fifth consecutive month that the FTR Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) has been in positive territory. Forecasts are for the shipping environment to gradually improve through early Q4. After that, says FTR, conditions should settle into a near neutral range with truck freight rates expected to be down, capacity additions likely decelerating and a relatively stable fuel cost outlook. However, if recent increases in crude oil prices continue, that could raise shippers’ costs and negatively impact the SCI reading.
Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “The freight market remained relatively balanced in February despite the beginning of significant weather-related disruptions to freight flows. A stable truck market combined with resilience in the eastern rail networks have helped keep shippers conditions from deteriorating.”
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. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment.
For more information, visit www.FTRintel.com or call (888) 988-1699, ext. 1.