Conditions for shippers inch into positive territory as market regains balance

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Updated Jan 30, 2019

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

Market conditions for shippers continue to improve due to the recent softening of truckload rates and lower fuel prices, according to FTR’s monthly Shippers Conditions Index reading for November.

“Conditions have improved noticeably for shippers in the last few months,” says Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “The prospect of sustained lower fuel prices, increasing capacity in the truck and rail sectors, and the first signs of a turn in rail service raise the prospect of a much better 2019 than shippers expected during much of 2018.”

November’s SCI reading was the best in over two years, since August 2016, and the first positive reading for the index since then. FTR forecasts shippers conditions to remain in neutral territory for the year, but that softening of freight demand or weakening rates could spur the index into more positive readings.

The Shippers Conditions Index is often times an inverse of FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index. If conditions are improving for shippers, they’re often weakening for truck fleets.