FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index sees ongoing moderate signs of improvement

For September, the most recent month for which data is available, the SCI was -7.6, marking a 1.2-point improvement over the -8.8 reading recorded in August.

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Like a month ago, the most recent edition of FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) showed some gradual improvement, the freight transportation consultancy reported this week.

FTR describes the SCI as an indicator that sums up all market influences that affect the transport environment for shippers, with a reading above zero being favorable and a reading below zero being unfavorable and a “less-than-ideal environment for shippers.”

For September, the most recent month for which data is available, the SCI was -7.6, marking a 1.2-point improvement over the -8.8 reading recorded in August. The July SCI reading was -9.9 and June was -9.5. While these readings are firmly in negative territory, they represent an improvement over May’s -12.3 and April’s -13.4.

FTR explained that overall conditions are still not favorable for shippers, while noting that the SCI is expected to see steady moderation in 2019. Drivers cited by FTR for this moderation include: increasing truck and intermodal capacity and productivity, as well as the resulting stabilization in rate growth, which, it said, should have a positive impact on shippers through 2019, with the SCI forecasted to be in neutral territory by the fourth quarter of 2019.

“The slow improvement in conditions for shippers that was present toward the end of the summer continued in September, but it will be a slow crawl back to a neutral position over the next year,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, in a statement. “Conditions for shippers are not as bad as they were earlier in 2018, but remain a long way from ideal.”


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