Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!

FTR reports Shipping Conditions Index may head down in coming months

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
September 24, 2012

Business conditions for shippers appear to be on the precipice of a downward slope, according to the monthly Shippers Conditions Index from freight transportation consultancy FTR Associates.

The SCI for July, the most recent month for which data is available, was -4.5, which was steeper than June’s -1.8. A reading above 0 suggests a favorable shipping environment, and FTR describes the SCI as an indicator that sums up all market influences that affect shippers, with a reading above zero being favorable and a reading below zero being unfavorable. May 2011’s -11.4 was the worst SCI reading of this current economic cycle.

FTR said that this current period commences what it labels as an “inflection point” in which costs and rates head up of the U.S. economy is able to sustain a mostly healthy freight market as new regulations go into effect.

The firm added that the forecasted tightening of capacity and associated rise in shipping costs will continue to have a negative impact on the SCI unless the economy’s recovery is sharper than expected. 

In an interview with LM, FTR Senior Consultant Larry Gross noted that in previous months, conditions had been better for carriers than shippers although now the pendulum seems to be shifting away in making things more complicated for shippers barring further delays in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations like CSA, HOS, and EOBR or a further decline in economic conditions.

“Carriers are finding that the past few months have been a little more difficult while there seems to be an adequate supply of truck capacity out there to meet demand at the moment,” he said. “That is why the SCI is not going up at the moment—or getting any worse.”

What’s more, the demand environment at the moment is “sensitive” because the economy is in a soft patch, Gross observes.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in October at 135.7 (2000=100) was up 1.9 percent compared to September’s 133.1, and the ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment was 139.8 in October, which was 0.9 percent ahead of September.

The average price per gallon of diesel gasoline fell 3.7 cents to $2.445 per gallon, according to data issued today by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). This marks the lowest weekly price for diesel since June 1, 2009, when it was at $2.352 per gallon.

In its report, entitled “Grey is the new Black,” JLL takes a close look at supply chain-related trends that can influence retailers’ approaches to Black Friday.

This year, it's all about the digital supply network. In this virtual conference, we will define the challenges currently facing supply chain organizations and offer solutions designed to transform linear operations into dynamic, automated networks that offer seamless communication, visibility, and the ability to respond and optimize processes at any given time.

In his opening comments assessing the economy at last week’s RailTrends conference hosted by Progressive Railroading magazine and independent railroad analyst Tony Hatch, FTR Senior analyst Larry Gross said the economy continues to slog ahead at a relatively tepid pace, coupled with some volatility in terms of overall GDP growth. And amid that slogging, Gross said there is currently an economic hand-off occurring between the industrial sector and the consumer sector.


Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA