Bloomington, Ind.—FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for the month of July went down 1.3 points from June’s reading, showing signs of tightening truck capacity and a strong upward move to contract pricing ahead of the fall shipping surge.
These contract markets are showing the first reactions to the driver shortage which is impacting truck fleet capacity. The SCI is expected to remain in the current range for the near future as long as freight growth continues.
“The challenges in the industry continue as we head into the fall shipping season,” said Jonathan Starks, FTR’s director of transportation analysis. “FTR just concluded its annual transportation conference and our numerous interactions with shippers, truck fleets, and railroads only enhanced our conviction that the freight transportation markets remain strained. The silver lining is that the industry will be able to handle most of these challenges with only limited capacity shortages. The downside is that truck rates are continuing to move higher and are unlikely to stop that momentum this year. Also, even though outright shortages will be limited, it will take even more work, and possibly delays, to get your non-optimized loads moved. For the railroads, service issues and slow speeds are likely to continue until the winter – when volumes slow and the railroads will finally be able to add in some additional crews.”
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