FTR Shippers Condition Index in Neutral Territory

FTR Associates’ Shippers Condition Index (SCI), as reported in the January issue of the Shippers Update, was hovering near the neutral reading of zero at the end of 2010, reflecting the continuing effects of the earlier pause in the economic recovery.

The SCI sums up all market influences that affect shippers; a reading above zero suggests a favorable shipping environment, while a reading below zero is unfavorable. FTR projects that the SCI will soon significantly worsen due to tightening carrier capacity as the economy re-accelerates and new Federal trucking regulations take hold.

The Shippers Update, launched by FTR Associates during 2010 as a part of the firm’s Freight Focus Series, looks at conditions that will affect the cost and efficiency of shipping goods via all transportation modes. North American shippers will find in one reference the essential information they need on freight volumes, equipment capacity and transport costs and rates. The Shippers Update has both history and forecasts for four modal options: truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal and rail carload. The analysis includes the breakdown of total truck and rail volumes into major commodity segments. It also provides historical snapshots of inland water and air freight markets. The freight data is augmented by an abundant collection of supporting data covering macro-economics and the fuel market.

In the January 2011 Shippers Update released on January 10, FTR projects the next surge in Truckload rates will come about during 2011Q2 as freight picks up seasonally. LTL rates, while increasing through 2011 and 2012, will lag behind TL rates because of more favorable driver hiring conditions. Improving freight growth will also increase freight rates for both rail and intermodal segments as well through 2011 and 2012.

Commentary discussing the new Hours of Service Regulations just published by FMCSA is included in the January report. For more information about how to subscribe to The Shippers Update, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call 888-988-1699 ext. 1.

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