ECONOMIC WATCH: Shippers saw best conditions ever in March

by Today's Trucking

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – U.S. shippers enjoyed favorable market conditions in March, with an FTR Shippers Conditions Index reading of 19.7 – more than double February’s reading.

(Chart: FTR)

That reflected the most favorable market conditions ever. FTR attributes it to Covid-19’s affect on utilization, rates, and fuel costs, and projects conditions to remain in shippers’ favor higher, as capacity utilization and rates fall.

“We know that the SCI is going to surge in the second quarter as the pandemic drove freight levels down, thus, freeing up an unprecedented amount of trucking capacity,” said FTR CEO Eric Starks. “The real question is when will the turning point occur and start to move the SCI lower again. With recent freight data through the end of May showing an uptick in activity, the SCI should move in an inverse fashion and drive the index number lower in June. One thing we will be watching is a potential shortage of capacity available for shippers in the short-term as carriers and drivers adjust to any sporadic upsurge in regional demand over the next several months. However, much will depend on the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on the broader economy.”

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