FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Sees Most Negative Rate Environment in Index History

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May, as reported in the July Shippers Update, improved marginally to -11.3. However, freight rates impact on shippers’ conditions were the most negative in the history of the index. Only a strong improvement in trucking capacity utilization during the month helped offset this grueling rate environment. Fuel costs also swung from a small positive in April to a small negative in May. Overall, the market has not changed for shippers, and remains extremely challenging.

Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented “It remains a period of tough sledding for shippers as utilization and rates will remain difficult factors to offset in the near term. The fall peak season will add increasing pressure to supply chains  and could create additional negative pressure in the index over that period.”

The July issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published July 7, provides a detailed analysis of the factors affecting the May Shippers Conditions Index and provides the forecast for this index through May of 2022. Included in this month’s report are details on how a recent revision in historical industrial production data affects FTR’s truck freight volume forecasts.

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.


For more than 30 years, FTR has served as the industry leader in freight transportation forecasting for the shipping, trucking, rail, intermodal, equipment, and financial communities in North America. With over 250 years of combined experience in the transportation industry, FTR’s experts provide quantitative analysis with historical and modal-specific insights. FTR’s reports, data, commentary, and insights help their clients evaluate market risks, identify new opportunities, and make informed decisions.

FTR is the only company with a complete set of freight data for all modes of transportation with detail at the 3 Digit STCC commodity level. FTR tracks and forecasts 200+ unique commodity groups both quarterly and annually using their proprietary Freight•cast™ freight forecasting model.