FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for June fell back to a reading of -12.0, reflecting a continuing tough environment for shippers. Shipper market conditions remain highly negative. Freight rates improved slightly during June, but it was not enough to offset tighter capacity utilization and little change in other components—volume and fuel costs—to hold off the drop in the SCI for the month. FTR’s latest freight volume outlook is slightly weaker at 6.3% growth year-over-year in 2021, down from the previous +6.9% projection.
“The capacity situation is expected to remain tight into 2022,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “While rate increases are expected to moderate their rates of growth through the next several months, they will for, the most part, remain in positive territory meaning shippers’ rate relief might feel good, but it is a matter of degrees as rates will still be going up year over year.”