FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for June Falls Back to a -12.0 Reading Reflecting Tough Conditions for Shippers

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for June, as reported in the August  Shippers Update, fell back to a reading of -12.0 reflecting a continuing tough environment for shippers.

Shipper market conditions remain highly negative.  Freight rates improved slightly during June, but it was not enough to offset tighter capacity utilization and little change in other components – volume and fuel costs – to hold off the drop in the SCI for the month.  FTR’s latest freight volume outlook is slightly weaker at 6.3% growth y/y in 2021 down from the previous +6.9% projection.

Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented “The capacity situation is expected to remain tight into 2022 and while rate increases are expected to moderate their rates of growth through the next several months, they will for the most part remain in positive territory meaning shippers’ rate relief might feel good, but it is a matter of degrees as rates will still be going up year over year.”

The August issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published August 6, provides a detailed analysis of the factors affecting the June Shippers Conditions Index and provides the forecast for this index through June of 2022. Included in this month’s report is discussion on how the record number of newer and smaller carriers authorized during the current surge in freight could react when today’s hot trucking market stabilizes.

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.