NASHVILLE, Ind. — FTR Associates has lowered its Shippers Condition Index (SCI) to reflect tightening carrier capacity, particularly in the truckload sector. The February Issue of FTR’s Shippers Update reported that the SCI in January stood at -8.8. The SCI sums up all market influences that affect shippers; a reading above zero suggests a favourable shipping environment, while a reading below zero is unfavourable.
January’s reading is the most negative (unfavourable) reading for shippers yet seen during the current recovery, according to FTR officials.
“The SCI is our method for capturing the shipping environment in one, easy to understand figure,” said Noel Perry, senior consultant for FTR. “The downward progression of the SCI should serve as a warning signal to shippers. While trucking capacity is currently adequate during the normally slack winter shipping season, looking forward we expect things to tighten up dramatically as freight demand picks up beginning in March. A shortage of truck drivers, due in part to new government safety regulations, will be the key factor restricting the ability of motor carriers to expand capacity, resulting in higher rates and possible challenges in getting freight moved later in the year.”
The February Shippers Update includes commentary on another new federal regulation – electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) and how they are likely to impact carriers and shippers.