FTR reports that its Shippers Condition Index should stabilize throughout the year. “However, a tightening of the trucking spot market in June may foreshadow less robust conditions for shippers in the near term,” according to FTR.
FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May fell sharply to 24.8 from the extraordinarily high pandemic-impacted 41.3 April reading. While not nearly as positive as April, May’s SCI was still the second highest on record.
All inputs to the measure were weaker in May than in April, but all remained positive, especially capacity utilization and rates, according to FTR. From May onward, the SCI should stabilize at a high single-digit positive measure throughout the year. However, a tightening of the trucking spot market in June may foreshadow less robust conditions for shippers in the near term.
“There is more uncertainty in the economy and freight markets now than at any time since the very early days of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “While shippers’ conditions are likely to slowly become less positive over the summer months, they will likely remain positive until the full extent and timing of the economic recovery take hold.”
The July issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published July 7, details the factors affecting the May Shippers Conditions Index. The additional commentary provides updates on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and expectations for recovery.
The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market: 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.