US transport market stabilising

Data published by US research company FTR Associates has indicated a stabilisation of the US freight market, albeit in a negative territory.

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May remained basically unchanged from the level of the last few months at a -7.5 reading. The SCI is a compilation of factors affecting the US transport environment. Any reading below zero indicates a less-than-ideal environment for shippers. Readings below 10 signal that conditions for shippers are approaching critical levels, based on available capacity and expected rates.

The SCI level is indicative of tight capacity, but only modest rate hikes by truckload carriers, according to FTR. The rate picture has continued to be quiet, assisted by lower fuel surcharges versus a year ago; however FTR is forecasting an acceleration in rates for the second half of the year. 

Jonathan Starks, Director of Transportation Analysis for FTR, commented “the sluggish economy and freight environment that has persisted for nearly two years now, has created an environment in which shippers have been able to secure low rate increases despite fleets operating with fairly small amounts of spare capacity.”

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