FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for July at -9.9 did not move much from the previous monthly reading of -9.5. While still in a very challenging environment, the measures used in computing the SCI indicate that the worst may be behind for shippers. Earlier in the year the SCI reading was in double digit negative territory. FTR forecasts the index to moderate from this point forward until reaching the “least unfavorable” level on this cycle around mid-2019. Key freight generators – manufacturing, construction, retail sales, and the inventories-to-sales ratio – remain strong with a positive outlook for the coming months.
Todd Tranausky, Vice President for Rail and Intermodal at FTR, comments, “Stabilization in rail service levels and some easing in the trucking market led to a steady SCI this month. But conditions have not shown any sign of improvement for shippers as they head toward peak season and a potential end-of-year rush before new tariffs take effect on January 1. While things are stable, the SCI indicates that things remain far from ideal for shippers.”