Shippers still coping with tight capacity, rising rates

by Truck News

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – U.S. shippers are continuing to struggle in a tight market, according to the latest FTR Shippers Conditions Index.

The index remained in double-digit negative territory at -10.5 in March, FTR reported, reflecting a tough operating environment. Conditions for shippers remained “highly unfavorable” with tight capacity and rising rates in the truckload and intermodal segments.

FTR says shippers may see some relief after the second quarter, with conditions improving more in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for shippers, hard enforcement of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate in April doesn’t seem to have had a major impact.

“Economic indicators look solid, freight demand continues to rise, and FTR sees no significant slowdown through 2019 for these conditions. Indeed, spot market rates are setting new record highs as the peak shipping season comes into full swing,” said Jonathan Starks, chief intelligence officer at FTR.

“Although negative conditions persist for shippers, the latest month saw some stabilization,” added Todd Tranausky, senior research analyst. “However, the combination of tight truck capacity and challenging rail service is unlikely to abate in the near term. Shippers need to plan on coping with these difficult conditions for a sustained period.”

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  • Many truck drivers are doing less trips since the E logs became law. Many are ready to leave trucking as their weekly pay has dropped 10 to 15 %.