By LM Staff ·
January 8, 2021
The most recent edition of the Shippers Conditions Index, which was issued this week by freight transportation consultancy FTR, pointed to a sharp decline in market conditions.
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 October SCI, which is the most recent month for which data is available, dropped to -11.6, well below September’s 0.97, August’s -1.79, July’s -0.36, and June’s 1.03. The May SCI reading, of 24.8, marked the second highest reading on record, with April’s 41.3 being the highest. The strong April and May readings reflected what the firm called a “huge positive spike as COVID-19 impacted freight movement.”
FTR said that there was a sudden increase in capacity utilization which, along with a tough rate environment and higher freight demand, resulted in the lowest reading for the SCI in three years. What’s more, the firm is forecasting the SCI beyond October to improve, but it is not expected to rise into positive territory until at least late 2022.
“The uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential for pent-up freight demand once the vaccine becomes widely available should help keep shippers conditions under pressure through the next 18 months,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal, in a statement.
January 8, 2021
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