January Shippers Conditions Index Challenging
The Shippers Conditions Index for January was -3.6 percent, which indicates difficult conditions, as reported by FTR Intel. While capacity is tightening, shippers should be optimistic that regulatory cuts and delays will likely be prevalent under the new Republican president and congress.
However, solid economic growth forecasts in the 2.5% range for 2017 are expected to increase overall costs for shippers.
The SCI is a compilation of factors affecting the shippers transport environment. Any reading below zero indicates a less-than-ideal environment for shippers. Readings below -10 signal conditions for shippers are approaching critical levels, based on available capacity and expected costs.
FTR’s Chief Operating Officer, Jonathan Starks, commented, “The economy is beginning to show signs of some acceleration. Manufacturing is attempting to shrug off its inventory woes, and business confidence has certainly improved, although it hasn’t translated into direct investment yet. If sustained, this would raise the outlook for freight demand this year and into next year. While that would cause capacity to tighten, the tailwind is that the regulatory environment isn’t expected to have as dramatic an impact as initially thought. Costs, especially rates, are still expected to see increases this year after a relatively weak rate environment in 2016.”
For more than 20 years, FTR has been the thought leader in freight transportation forecasting in North America. The company’s national award-winning forecasters collect and analyze all data likely to impact freight movement, issuing consistently reliable reports for trucking, rail, and intermodal transportation. FTR’s forecasting and reports are intended to be used for advanced planning and cost-savings for companies throughout the transportation sector.