FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May improved sharply to a reading of 5.6, nearly four points higher than the April reading.
Market conditions are the most favorable for shippers in years and are expected to continue in the current range for the remainder of 2019, FTR says. The principal strength is continued softening of truckload and intermodal rates with rail stabilizing. Fuel prices may put some pressure on shipper costs due to the recent rise in crude prices; however, those increases appeared to level off at under $60/barrel, FTR added.
“Softness in freight volumes combined with more abundant capacity in the truckload market than was present last year have made it a good time to be a shipper,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “Sustained weakness in freight volumes through the summer suggest the positive results for shippers could continue for much of the rest of 2019.”