April Shippers Conditions ‘Slight Improvement’, Rates Move Slowly

BLOOMINGTON, IN — FTR Associates’ April Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) had a “slight improvement” over March with a reading of -6.9.

“Overall, truck freight is showing improved growth but with fleets managing productivity, there are no serious capacity issues yet and rates continue to move very slowly,” the SCI release says. 

When the hours-of-service (HOS) changes taken effect in July, FTR expects a significant acceleration in rates as the market responds to the new regulations. However, it may take a few months for the effects to trickle down to shippers.

“We are standing at the edge of the Hours of Service revision that should initiate tightening in the truck freight sector,” says Lawrence Gross, senior consultant for FTR. “However, at the same time, while the economy is continuing to slowly grow, the manufacturing segment that forms a key component driving truck freight demand, is faltering. If this continues, it may take out a bit of this year’s anticipated second-half rate sting.”

The SCI takes in to account a variety of factors that affect shippers’ transport environment. Any number below zero is considered less-than-ideal, with anything below 10 meaning approaching critical levels based on available capacity and expected rates.

You can get more information about the SCI in the June issue of Shippers Update.

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