Shipping conditions stabilize in negative territory

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The Shippers Conditions Index, produced monthly by FTR Associates, improved some in April from March, but is still in a “less-than-deal environment for shippers,” says FTR. There are no serious capacity issues yet, says FTR, and rates could continue to move up slowly.

However, FTR forecasts that rates will accelerate significantly as the changing hours-of-service rules take effect July 1.

The reading in April was -6.9. Anything lower than zero means the factors are such for shippers that the overall environment is less than ideal.

“We are standing at the edge of the hours-of-service revision that should initiate tightening in the truck freight sector.  However, at the same time, while the economy is continuing to slowly grow, the manufacturing segment that forms a key component driving truck freight demand, is faltering.  If this continues, it may take out a bit of this year’s anticipated second-half rate sting,” said FTR Senior Consultant Lawrence Gross.