FTR reports shippers conditions index reflects slowly tightening capacity

FTR Associates' Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for August fell to a reading of -6.8 reflecting a slowly tightening capacity environment for carriers and shippers. With an economy that continues to tread water, FTR expects the SCI to remain close to the current reading through the fourth quarter of this year. Shipping costs, along with the ability to find capacity, will begin to grow worse in 2013 as economic conditions improve just as new Federal regulations affecting trucking are implemented. The SCI readings will reflect the added challenges facing shippers at that time. Details of the factors affecting the August Shippers Conditions Index are found in the October issue of FTR’s Shippers Update published October 5.

Larry Gross, Senior Consultant for FTR, commented, "Attendees at the recently concluded FTR Transportation Conference concurred that freight markets currently are mired in a sluggish but stable state. Disciplined carriers are therefore holding back on any capacity additions, setting the stage for tightening as conditions evolve through the early part of next year. Barring another significant stumble in the overall economy, we expect things to look substantially different a year from now."

Commentary included in the current issue of the Shippers Update discusses two Washington agendas, the national debt and regulations that have implications for trucking. For more information about how to subscribe to the Shippers Update, send an e-mail to or call 888-988-1699 ext. 1.

The Shippers Update, launched by FTR Associates during 2010 as a part of the firm’s Freight Focus Series, looks at conditions that will affect the cost and efficiency of shipping goods via all domestic surface transportation modes. North American shippers will find in one reference the essential information they need on freight volumes, equipment capacity and transport costs and rates. The Shippers Update has both history and forecasts for four modal options: truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal and rail carload. The analysis includes the breakdown of total truck and rail volumes into major commodity segments. It also provides historical snapshots of inland water and air freight markets. The freight data is augmented by an abundant collection of supporting data covering macro-economics and the fuel market.