FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index trends closer to positive territory

For October, the most recent month for which data is available, the SCI was -2.1, marking an improvement over September’s -7.6, as well as the 8.8 reading recorded in August.

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While still not close to ideal, things appear to continue to slowly be improving for shippers, according to the most recent edition of the Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) issued this week by freight transportation consultancy FTR.

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 October, the most recent month for which data is available, the SCI was -2.1, marking an improvement over September’s -7.6, as well as the 8.8 reading recorded in August. The July SCI reading was -9.9 and June was -9.5. May’s SCI was -12.3 and April’s was -13.4.

This trend, according to FTR, shows indications that “the worst may be over for shippers,” adding that shippers are seeing the best environment in more than a year, due to stabilizing rates and moderating fuel prices, too.

FTR also said that the current range of SCI readings should remain intact into 2019 and may even come into positive territory by the middle of 2019, with increasing capacity, rate stabilization, and lower fuel prices all serving as positive drivers.  

“Lower fuel prices and some lessening of the capacity crunch shippers experienced earlier this year have shifted overall conditions to a neutral posture,” said Todd Tranausky, senior vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, in a statement. “That stance is expected to be maintained through the first half of 2019 baring an external shock to the supply chain.”

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