FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) fell in June to a 7.9 reading from May’s 8.6 and was impacted negatively by the recent jump in diesel prices. Overall market conditions for shippers were stable and positive during June. However, the outlook is for progressively weaker readings moving forward due to the projected sharp increase in fuel costs. Less favorable readings of the SCI are on the horizon.

Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “Fuel is one of the most volatile components that can impact shipper conditions through its ability to move fuel surcharges and capacity around. It weakened overall shipper conditions in the latest month, but the SCI remained at a fairly positive level overall. If fuel prices continue to increase, it will push less positive readings in the SCI in the months ahead. “

The August issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published August 7 provides a detailed analysis of the factors affecting the June Shippers Conditions Index and provides the forecast for this index through June of 2024. The August edition includes an initial assessment of what Yellow’s demise could mean for LTL rates and additional commentary analyzing the potential for a truck pre-buy before 2027.

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.