Shippers gained good news in April from a business measure that showed they gained improved business conditions for moving goods, and that the outlook is positive through mid-2024, according to the transportation sector analysis firm FTR.
FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) in April rose to 7.1 from a 4.5 reading in March. The increase was due to a weaker environment for both freight rates and carrier utilization, more than offsetting slightly stronger freight demand and a deceleration of fuel cost decreases in April.
“Shippers conditions improved in April as weaker rates and carrier utilization helped support shippers,” Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, said in a release. “The outlook is for a firmly positive outlook for shippers in the economic balance of power between themselves and carriers for at least another 12 months. Economic uncertainty or a higher than expected amount of economic weakness could bump that time frame further out into the future and extend the good ride shippers have had over the last few months.”
The SCI tracks four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market: freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. Combined into a single index, the resulting number represents good, optimistic conditions when positive, and bad, pessimistic conditions when it dips into negative territory.