BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Conditions for shippers slipped in January, falling two points falling to a reading of negative 7.1, according to the latest results of the FTR Associates’ Shippers Conditions Index (SCI).
FTR officials say the SCI is forecast to continue to move downward as the year progresses and is expected to reach negative double-digit levels by year-end, indicating very difficult conditions for shippers.
“Transport costs will increase as freight continues to grow slowly and capacity is constrained by federal regulations affecting trucking starting this summer,” FTR officials said in a release.
The Shippers Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting shippers transport environment. Any reading below zero indicates a tough environment for shippers. Readings below 10 signal that conditions for shippers will be near critical levels, based on available capacity and expected rates.
“Our forecast for deteriorating conditions for shippers is based primarily on two assumptions: that the economy will continue to grow slowly and that there will be no further delay in the implementation of the revised Hours-of-Service rules in July of this year. As of this time we see no cause to change either of these assumptions,” said Lawrence Gross, senior consultant for FTR.
“Field reports indicate a firming of truck rates, which is unusual since winter is normally a slack period. The courts may yet put a hold on the change in Hours-of-Service, but the standard for issuing an injunction is quite high. While no one can predict what the court will do, our best assessment is that no injunction will be issued and the changes will go into effect as planned.”