FTR Associates says its Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for September basically remained unchanged from August with a reading -6.9.
The range where the SCI has settled indicates the current status of stable but slightly tight truck capacity, FTR says, adding shippers should expect to see a gradual deterioration in shipping conditions as 2012 ends and throughout 2013 as freight demand slowly improves while impending regulations restrict driver productivity and hence, truck capacity.
“Shippers continue to enjoy a period of stability and limited increases in trucking rates for the moment,” says Larry Gross, FTR senior consultant. “Uncertainty with regard to the future will continue at high levels until the outcome of ongoing “fiscal cliff” negotiations becomes clear. We are optimistic that the results of these discussions will not inflict great damage to the economy. With the re-election of President Obama, we can expect the current regulatory climate to remain in place. The conditions are therefore set for slow tightening in freight markets as we move through next year.”
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.