The FTR Shippers Conditions Index

FTR Associates on Wednesday, June 13, announced that its Shippers Conditions Index for April basically was unchanged from the previous month with a moderately negative reading of -5.4. The SCI sums up all market influences that affect shippers; a reading above zero suggests a favorable shipping environment, while a reading below zero is unfavorable.

FTR expects the index to remain in a tight range throughout the summer, potentially deteriorating marginally in the latter part of the year. FTR said the real negative impact to shippers will begin to occur in 2013 as new hours-of-service rules are expected to put a significant drain on trucking capacity.

“The current lackluster performance of the economy has had a silver lining for shippers, as slow growth in truck freight demand has not caused capacity to tighten to a great extent, keeping a lid on rates,” said Larry Gross, FTR senior consultant. “The moment of truth has been delayed but not avoided. We still expect shipping conditions to deteriorate as we move into 2013 unless external events such as the European debt crisis send the economy back into a tailspin – an event that is possible but not considered likely as of this point.”