Shipper conditions see best month in nearly three years

Conditions for U.S. shippers improved in December, with the FTR Shippers Conditions Index jumping to 10.32 from a November reading of 3.

Industry analyst FTR says the improvement was largely due to a huge drop in fuel prices in December, but lower freight rates, looser capacity utilization, and lighter volumes all contributed to the improved conditions for shippers.

SCI graph

It was the best reading since May 2020.

“Declining active truck utilization, lower truck rates, and improving rail service should all help shippers experience more favorable conditions going forward,” said Todd Tranausky, vice-president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “These factors are expected to remain in place through 2023 before starting to swing back toward carriers next year. The improvement will be a welcome respite for shippers who faced higher rates and capacity shortfalls coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.”

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