The March Shippers Conditions Index reading from FTR remained in double digit negative territory at -10.5 reflecting the continued tough environment facing shippers. Conditions remain highly unfavorable with tight capacity and rising rates in both truckload and intermodal sectors. Shippers may see some relief after the second quarter and conditions may improve further during Q4. One bright spot for shippers is that the hard enforcement of the ELD regulation, based on spot-market data, does not appear to have had a major impact.
Jonathan Starks, Chief Intelligence Officer at FTR, comments, “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.”
Todd Tranausky, Senior Research Analyst at FTR, comments, “Although negative conditions persist for shippers, the latest month saw some stabilization. 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.”