FTR’s Shippers Condition Index reflects a flat outlook for shippers

The business conditions outlook for shippers appears to continue to be moving sideways, according to the monthly Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) from freight transportation consultancy FTR Associates.

By ·

The business conditions outlook for shippers appears to continue to be moving sideways, according to the monthly Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) from freight transportation consultancy FTR Associates.

The SCI for September, the most recent month for which data is available, was -6.9, which FTR said was almost exactly in line with August. 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.

According to FTR, the range where the SCI “settles” indicates the current status of stable but slightly tight truck capacity, adding that shippers may see a bit of deterioration in shipping conditions through the end of 2012 and throughout 2013, while freight demand slowly improves and regulations such as CSA and HOS have a negative impact on driver production and in turn capacity.

“Shippers continue to enjoy a period of stability and limited increases in trucking rates for the moment,” said Larry Gross, FTR senior consultant, in the report. “Uncertainty with regard to the future will continue at high levels until the outcome of ongoing ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations becomes clear. We are optimistic that the results of these discussions will not inflict great damage to the economy. With the re-election of President Obama, we can expect the current regulatory climate to remain in place. The conditions are therefore set for slow tightening in freight markets as we move through next year.”

In an interview with LM, Gross explained that this report accentuates how while conditions have not changed, it stands to reason they will.

While there is a program in place for conditions to change that is visible, Gross said that continued growth colliding with the various restrictions being programmed into certain regulations will likely create a different situation for shippers by this time next year.

“If we do in fact go off the fiscal cliff, the forecast of a tightening supply in trucking is likely obsolete as a recession could follow and there would not be as much demand,” he said. “I am assuming there is a solution and that people in Washington are not so stupid as to drive us off.”


About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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!

Article Topics

FTR Associates · SCI · Trucking · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Unlock the Value of Your Supply Chain Through Embedded Analytics
Learn how embedded analytics can provide deeper supply chain intelligence and help you extract maximum value from data for your supply chain operations
Download Today!
From the May 2017 Issue
Everyone is talking about terms like digitization, Industry 4.0 and digital supply chain management, but what sort of technologies fall under these broad terms, and how will they change the management capabilities at our disposal? To find out, we talked to some noted supply chain analysts, consultants and technology executives and gathered six digital trends to watch.
Transportation Trends and Best Practices: The Battle for the Last Mile
2017 Technology Roundtable: Are we closer to “Intelligent” Logistics?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Going Beyond Rate Negotiations for Logistics Cost Savings
The pressure to reduce cost is a fundamental part of every organization today leaving many supply chain professionals constantly renegotiating rates. This webcast examines four areas that may hold untapped savings potentials and even help organizations negotiate better rates.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
The Evolution of the Digital Supply Chain
Everyone is talking about terms like digitization, Industry 4.0 and digital supply chain management,...
2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...

LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...