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FTR’s May Shippers Conditions Index falls sharply in May but remains high

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David Sickels is the Associate Editor of Tire Review and Fleet Equipment magazines. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May fell sharply to 24.8 from the extraordinarily high pandemic-impacted 41.3 April reading. While not nearly as positive as April, FTR says, May’s SCI was still the second-highest on record.

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All inputs to the measure were weaker in May than in April, but all remained positive, especially capacity utilization and rates, FTR says. From May onward, the SCI should stabilize at a high single-digit positive measure throughout the year. However, a tightening of the trucking spot market in June may foreshadow less robust conditions for shippers in the near term.

“There is more uncertainty in the economy and freight markets now than at any time since the very early days of the COVID-19 crisis,” Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, said. “While shippers conditions are likely to slowly become less positive over the summer months, they will likely remain positive until the full extent and timing of the economic recovery take hold.”

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