Market conditions for shippers hit their strongest point in over two years in December, according to FTR’s monthly Shippers Conditions Index, signaling that the freight demand and rates, among other indicators, are less in carriers’ favor as the economy’s growth slows.
“Stable fuel prices, a turn in rail service levels, and loosening truck capacity have combined to create a favorable environment for shippers seeking to move freight. The situation is forecast to continue for much of 2019, as fuel prices remain stable and economic conditions hold firm,” says Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR.
The SCI is generally an inverse of FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index, which measures market conditions for carriers. Both indices posted a positive reading in December, which FTR says is unusual. It attributes the dual positive readings to improving freight volume and cheaper fuel but without a change in rates.
FTR predicts the SCI to stay in slightly positive territory throughout the year.