FTR Intel’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) rose in May to 8.6 from a 7.1 reading in April, indicating a “moderately favorable” environment for shippers due to lower fuel costs and freight rates, along with “slightly weaker” freight volumes.
The outlook is positive through mid-2024, FTR reported.
“The Shippers Conditions Index rose in May as it became more obvious that there would be abundant capacity available in the system for longer during 2023,” Todd Tranausky, FTR vice president of rail and intermodal, said in a news release. “While there are signs that capacity may be as loose as it is going to get, economic uncertainty could keep some shippers on the sidelines as they weigh their own inventory situation.”
The July issue of FTR’s Shippers Update provides a detailed analysis of the factors affecting the May Shippers Conditions Index, and the forecast for this index through May of 2024. The July edition explores whether recent strength in the automotive and housing markets could buffer anticipated declines in consumption.
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.