FTR Associates’ Shippers Condition Index for November dropped 2.5 points from the previous month to a reading of -6.1, reflecting seasonal tightening of shipping capacity. The SCI sums up all market influences that affect shippers; a reading above zero suggests a favorable shipping environment, while a reading below zero is unfavorable.
FTR says the trucking industry currently is in a stable phase with firm rates and modestly tight capacity, a situation that is expected to continue throughout much of the year. Now that the revised hours-of-service regulations have been issued, the acute trucking capacity shortage that had been expected to hit in 2012 has been postponed until 2013, FTR says.
“The final hours-of-service regulations recently issued by the FMCSA were not as onerous as originally feared,” says Larry Gross, senior consultant for FTR. “The enforcement date of mid-2013 provides plenty of time for the inevitable court challenges to proceed without imposing additional uncertainty costs on shippers and carriers. Nevertheless, unless there are further changes in this or other new regulations, or a major economic slowdown between now and the middle of next year, we still project a major capacity shortage in trucking for next summer.”