PREDICTION: Shippers To Keep Upper Hand Throughout 2019
Bloomington, Indiana – A new report by trucking business analyst FTR indicates conditions continue to be favorable for shippers.
At a near neutral reading of 0.6, FTR’s February Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) reflects a balanced freight market.
February is the fifth consecutive month that the SCI has been in positive territory.
FTR forecasts the shipping environment to gradually improve through early Q4.
Beyond 2019, FTR analysts expect conditions should settle into a near neutral range with truck freight rates expected to be down, capacity additions likely decelerating and a relatively stable fuel cost outlook.
However, FTR warned if recent increases in crude oil prices continue, that could raise shippers’ costs and negatively impact the SCI reading.
Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “The freight market remained relatively balanced in February despite the beginning of significant weather-related disruptions to freight flows.”
He continued, “A stable truck market combined with resilience in the eastern rail networks have helped keep shippers conditions from deteriorating.”
FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) fell in February to a reading of 1.71.
This is the lowest reading for the index since August 2017 and reflects the easing market conditions for this transportation segment.
Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking, commented, “We continue to see modest weakening in trucking conditions due to the near-term easing of freight rates and volumes, but we should remain generally above neutral during the coming year.”
Vise warned conditions could continue to worsen. “However, we are close enough to neutral that negative TCI readings are now a possibility,” he said.