Shippers see improving conditions thanks to lower diesel costs

Shippers felt some relief in July with conditions as measured by the FTR Shippers Conditions Index entering positive territory at 4.5 for the first time since September 2020.

In June, the reading was -4.0, reflecting negative conditions. Industry forecaster FTR says the improvement for shippers in July stemmed from loosening capacity utilization and falling diesel prices.

“Sharply lower diesel prices helped push the Shippers Conditions Index into positive territory, but there are unlikely to be similar sharp diesel drops in coming months. Additional positive momentum in the SCI will be driven by more capacity becoming available,” said FTR’s vice-president of rail and intermodal, Todd Tranausky.

SCI chart

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