Indicators: Strong freight economy has shippers ‘in the throes of pro-carrier environment’

CCJ‘s Indicators rounds up the latest reports on trucking business indicators on rates, freight, equipment, the economy and more.

Conditions for shippers remain in strongly unfavorable territory, according to the February reading of FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index. Upward pressure on rates, stemming from trucking’s maxed-out capacity and a still-hot freight market, have held market conditions well in carriers’ favor over the past 12 months.

FTR analysts say conditions for shippers are likely to remain negative into 2019. “Shippers remain in the throes of a pro-carrier environment. Every major indicator of demand–manufacturing, payroll employment, retail sales, housing construction– is at least at the strongest level since the Great Recession,” says FTR Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Starks. “Rates on the spot market continue to remain elevated, and we don’t expect to see any significant downward rate pressure – whether spot or contract – until at least 2019. Shippers should not expect to get near-term relief from spot rates that are at or near record levels. Securing capacity at a reasonably higher price remains the key challenge for shippers.”

In its most recent Trucking Conditions Index, an inverse reading of sorts to the Shippers Conditions Index, FTR reported conditions for carriers “reflect a best-ever environment.”