FTR Intel’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) took a step back in April to a reading of 1.9, close to a full point below March.
The April SCI measure was negatively affected by stronger rail rates and higher fuel prices outweighing improved shipper conditions related to trucking, FTR said. The outlook shows strong shipper conditions through 2019 as the rate environment is expected to become more favorable.
Key factors to watch include fuel prices, truck utilization and rail service.
“Shippers should continue to expect favorable conditions and an ability to easily get freight placed in the market,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “They will be aided by the relatively stable fuel prices through most of the rest of 2019 and somewhat slowing rail freight volumes.”
The June issue of FTR’s Shippers Update details the factors affecting the April Shippers Conditions Index. Also included is an updated analysis of the current trade situation and the impact it is having on freight.
The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions— freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity and fuel price—in the US full-load freight market. 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.