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Conditions for shippers mostly unchanged in February: FTR

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Conditions for shippers were mostly unchanged in February, according to the latest Shippers Conditions Index from FTR.

The industry forecaster says the current reading reflects a “somewhat benign environment” ahead of expected capacity tightening. February’s reading of -2.8 was less negative for shippers than January’s. But FTR is still calling for a tightening of capacity later in the year.

The Shippers Condition Index is a compilation of factors that affect the transport environment for shippers.

“The SCI compiles four key metrics into a singular view of how the market is operating. It keys in on freight demand, transport utilization levels, transport costs, and fuel pricing,” explained Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer with FTR. “In February, there was little change in most of these metrics aside from fuel pricing. Diesel fuel prices dropped a slight amount in February after jumping seven cents in January, and the outlook for pricing is for relative stability during most of 2017.”

He added: “The biggest drag on the index continues to be the impact of the tightening capacity environment that we have seen emerge over the last nine to 12 months. The spot market gives us a quick indication of this tightening, with the Market Demand Index (MDI) from up more than 80% versus February of 2016.”

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