By LM Staff ·
February 22, 2021
The most recent edition of the Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) issued by freight transportation consultancy FTR saw a slight sequential decline.
FTR describes the SCI as an indicator that sums up all market influences that affect the transport environment for shippers, with a reading above zero being favorable and a reading below being unfavorable and a “less-than-ideal environment for shippers.”
The December SCI, which is the most recent month for which data is available, came in a -10.9, with the firm observing that the fourth quarter of 2020 presented the most difficult market conditions for shippers going back to early 2018. And FTR added that while freight volumes are still solid, fuel prices are seeing steady gains.
Looking ahead, FTR said that its current outlook calls for improved conditions, with capacity utilization and rates stabilizing at high levels, noting that the SCI is expected to stay in a low, single-digit negative range through the majority, or potentially the entirety, of 2021.
“The new year has not been kind to shippers as weather-related disruptions chewed up capacity and higher fuel prices will likely further erode their position in the marketplace in the first quarter,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, in a statement. “Fuel prices increased significantly in the first two months of the year and will likely increase further as large refineries the produce significant amounts of diesel were forced offline from weather-related issues in February.”
February 22, 2021
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