Market conditions for shippers, often the inverse of conditions for carriers, gained momentum in March, according to FTR’s monthly Shippers Conditions Index. FTR points to easing rates and weaker capacity utilization as key reasons for the reading’s increase.
“Shippers are benefiting from relatively stable fuel prices and weaker trucking capacity utilization than they experienced in 2018,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “But both of those metrics are expected to tighten up as the year progresses. Diesel prices could move up in the fourth quarter, which could pressure fuel surcharges higher late in 2019.”
FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index in recent months has tumbled, including hitting its first negative reading since 2016 and, before that, since the lingering effects of the Great Recession in 2012.