Shipper conditions tracked by FTR fell to their weakest point on record in March, with its Shippers Conditions Index plunging to a reading of -23.1.
That follows a previous record low of -17.9 in February. The surge in diesel prices and tighter capacity combined to challenge shippers.
The index tracks the impact of freight demand, rates, fleet capacity and fuel prices in the U.S. full-load freight market. A negative score reflects pessimistic conditions.
“Fuel costs, labor costs, and ongoing congestion across the supply chain are going to keep the pressure high on shippers as we move into the summer months,” said Todd Tranausky, vice-president of rail and intermodal at FTR.
“There is little relief in sight, though there is the potential for downside economic pressure to reduce demand in the second half. But that is far from certain and also not the ideal way for shippers to experience better conditions and more capacity in their supply chains.”