Shippers have enjoyed a long run of favorable conditions over carriers during the freight recession of the past year, but that era may be coming to an end, according to a market index from transportation analysis firm FTR.
FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) continued to fall in August to its first negative reading since October, 2022, reaching a mark of -2.7. The results show that freight rates were not quite as positive as they had been during the month, due largely to a recent surge in diesel prices.
“The decline was almost entirely the result of higher diesel prices as overall capacity remains abundant across modes. But diesel prices pushed up rates and fuel surcharges leading to a less favorable environment for shippers. It is possible that diesel prices stay elevated for an extended period of time,” Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, said in a release.
The SCI tracks the changes representing 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 negative.