Bloomington, IN - FTR’s April Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) took a step back in April to a reading of 1.9, close to a full point below March. The April SCI measure was negatively affected by stronger rail rates and higher fuel prices outweighing improved shipper conditions related to trucking. The outlook shows strong shipper conditions through 2019 as the rate environment is expected to become more favorable. Key factors to watch include fuel prices, truck utilization, and rail service.

Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “Shippers should continue to expect favorable conditions and an ability to easily get freight placed in the market. They will be aided by the relatively stable fuel prices through most of the rest of 2019 and somewhat slowing rail freight volumes.”

The June issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published June 7, 2019, details the factors affecting the April Shippers Conditions Index. Also included is an updated analysis of the current trade situation and the impact it is having on freight.

The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market. These conditions are: freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence the shippers’ freight transport environment. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. A negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem…and readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment. Double digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.

For more than two decades, FTR has been the thought leader in freight transportation forecasting in North America. The company’s national award-winning forecasters collect and analyze all data likely to impact freight movement, issuing consistently reliable reports for trucking, rail, and intermodal transportation, as well as providing demand analysis for commercial vehicle and railcar. FTR’s forecasting and specially designed reports have resulted in advanced planning and cost-savings for companies throughout the transportation sector.