FTR Associates’ Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for January remained basically unchanged from the previous month with a reading of -4.8. The modest .2 point drop to start 2012 reflects a slow acceleration of freight growth that will continue to drive the index gradually lower over the remainder of the year. The SCI sums up all market influences that affect shippers; a reading above zero suggests a favorable shipping environment, while a reading below zero is unfavorable. FTR’s March Shippers Update, published March 8, reports that truck utilization will remain relatively strong until new Hours of Service regulations are implemented in 2013 at which time capacity is expected to tighten significantly if the current rate of freight growth continues.
Larry Gross, Senior Consultant for FTR, comments, “Although our forecast for the economy remains conservative, we anticipate that freight growth will exceed the growth rate in GDP. This will continue to keep transport capacity tight throughout the forecast period, resulting in ongoing upward rate pressure.”