FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for March showed a sharp decline from February to a -4.9 reading. The SCI will continue to fall further into negative territory now that any bump from soft market conditions created by temporary cessation of regulatory drag and fuel cost reductions are evaporating. Barring a recession, the SCI will settle into a high single digit negative reading through the balance of the year.
Larry Gross, FTR senior consultant, commented, “All current indicators point towards the timely implementation of ‘big ticket’ truck regulations in the near future, including Electronic Logging Devices, Speed Limiters for heavy trucks, and the National Drug and Alcohol Database. These among other regulations will have a profound effect on available truck capacity creating a shortage. The near-term crisis may be postponed if the economy slows significantly, however, something we are now watching for very closely given multiple warning signs in the economy.”
The Shippers Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting the shippers transport environment. Any reading below zero indicates a less-than-ideal environment for shippers. Readings below 10 signal that conditions for shippers are approaching critical levels, based on available capacity and expected rates. Details of the factors affecting the March Shippers Conditions Index, along with additional commentary discussing the outlook for diesel prices are found in the May issue of FTR’s Shippers Update published May 8, 2015.
Shippers Update, launched by FTR 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. 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 plus intermodal. The freight data is augmented by an abundant collection of supporting data covering macroeconomics and the fuel market.