Freight Environment Tougher for Shippers

FTR - Transportation Intelligence

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Decline in September Likely an Outlier

Bloomington, IN – (Trailer Technician) – FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) fell in September into negative territory at -3.1 from a positive 5.0 in August. The freight environment was tougher for shippers in September as capacity utilization tightened and freight volume increased.

The monthly decline appears to be an outlier as conditions, although volatile, should generally improve as capacity utilization loosens. However, fuel costs will remain a major wild card.

Shippers Conditions Index - Sep22

Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “A slowing freight market will help ease shippers’ pain points over the coming weeks and months with the slow freight growth expected to continue for much of 2023. This will in particular give rail carriers an opportunity to hire to meet demand and use that headcount to improve service levels for the next upward cycle.”

The November issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published November 7, provides a detailed analysis of the factors affecting the September Shippers Conditions Index and provides the forecast for this index through September of 2023. The November issue also includes an exploration of why the creation of new trucking companies remains stronger than would be expected given the large numbers of carriers exiting the market.

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.

About FTR:

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.

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