Market conditions for shippers, as measured by FTR’s monthly Shippers Conditions Index, reflected a balanced freight market in January between shippers and carriers, FTR says. Though the Shippers Conditions Index was slightly weaker in January than December, the index reading remained in positive territory.
FTR forecasts shippers conditions to remain mostly neutral through the first quarter and then to climb into more positive territory through the rest of the year. Generally, a positive reading of the Shippers Conditions Index reflects poorer market conditions for carriers in terms of rates and capacity. However, FTR expects the market to remain balanced in 2019.
“While conditions for shippers are forecast to remain neutral to positive over the coming months, it is possible that the duration and extent of flooding in the U.S. Midwest could be a headwind to those improvements, depending on where your freight is moving,” says Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “Overall stable fuel prices and more available capacity than was experienced in 2018 will create a relatively calm environment.”