FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index hits likely peak in April

By LM Staff · July 2, 2020

The most recent edition of the Shippers Conditions Index (SCI), which was released this week by freight transportation consultancy FTR, more than doubled the output of its previous edition.

FTR describes the SCI as an indicator that sums up all market influences that affect the transport environment for shippers, with a reading above zero being favorable and a reading below being unfavorable and a “less-than-ideal environment for shippers.”

For April, the most recent month for which data is available, the SCI came in at 41.3, well ahead of March’s 19.7 reading, which more than doubled February’s 7.93 reading and was ahead of January’s 3.73, which is the lowest SCI reading going back to October 2018.

FTR officials said that April’s reading is expected to be the peak for the SCI during what is called an unprecedented time for transportation. And it added that although most shippers’ revenues suffered greatly in April, the month may never be matched in terms of freight market conditions. What’s more, it added that the May shippers’ conditions will not meet April but could be the second-best ever. After May, FTR forecasts more stability in the SCI but still at double-digit positive readings into 2021.

“While April’s SCI rating is strong, April was not necessarily as great a time to be a shipper as the result would imply because of the effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns all across the country,” said FTR vice president of rail and intermodal Todd Tranausky in a statement. “While the result will come down in May as capacity gets absorbed by the restart of manufacturing facilities, it will remain a good time to be a shipper through this year and into 2021.”

July 1, 2020