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FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) fell sharply again in February to -17.9 after dropping to -10.1 in January. The February reading narrowly beats March 2021 as the toughest month to date for shippers. The record won’t last long as March is expected to be much lower still as some rate relief will not nearly offset a surge in diesel prices. For now, SCI forecasts for the balance of the year past March is for the measure to moderate into a low single digit negative range.
The April issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published April 7 provides a detailed analysis of the factors affecting the February Shippers Conditions Index and provides the forecast for this index through February of 2023. The April issue also includes commentary on how weak van market spot rates as diesel prices surge could spark a swing of capacity back to larger carriers.
The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market. These conditions are: freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence the shippers’ freight transport environment. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. A negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance.