FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index shows mild improvement in a difficult environment

By LM Staff ·

December 4, 2020

Coming off of its lowest level over the past two years, the most recent edition of the Shippers Conditions Index, which was issued this week by freight transportation consultancy FTR, showed a slight sign of improvement.  

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 September SCI, which is the most recent month for which data is available, came in at 0.97, ahead of August’s -1.79. July came in a at -0.36,  with June at 1.03, and May’s 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.”

Even with the slight increase, FTR described the current environment for shippers as “hardly good,” adding that the average SCI reading for 2019 was 6.0. And the firm also pointed to favorable trends in volume, capacity utilization, and fuel costs offsetting the unfavorable rate environment throughout September.   

“There is significant uncertainty in the outlook for shippers as the health of the underlying economy remains in doubt.,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, in a statement. “The remainder of the fourth quarter will be challenged for shippers, but the landscape could change dramatically between now and the early part of 2021.”



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Article Topics

Capacity &middot

FTR &middot

Rates &middot

SCI &middot

Shippers Conditions Index &middot
All Topics