FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for November was marginally better than the previous month at a reading of -8.9. While the index remains in solidly negative territory, its forward-looking components suggest longer term improvement as 2018 matures because of shrinking pressure on capacity from regulations and slower freight growth. However, there is the possibility that conditions could worsen for shippers in the near term as the U.S. economy continues to expand.
Jonathan Starks, Chief Operating Officer at FTR, comments, “Truckstop.com’s market demand index began January at record levels, but has moderated throughout the month. This is in line with our understanding that capacity constraints could ease during seasonally weaker Q1. Yet the economy continues to expand and ELD enforcement is still around the corner, so shippers won’t find too much relief in the first half of the year. Markets will adjust as we move through the year; carriers will add some capacity, and shippers will develop more ‘carrier-friendly’ operations. However, that will not stop the market from being severely taxed for a majority of 2018 and prices paid for the transporting of goods will reflect that reality.”