Slow freight growth to continue in 2023

Shipper conditions declined in September to a reading of -3.1 on the FTR Shippers Conditions Index, down from a positive reading of 5.0 in August.

But industry analyst FTR feels the drop, caused by tightening capacity utilization and a jump in freight volumes, will be an outlier.

“A slowing freight market will help ease shippers’ pain points over the coming weeks and months with the slow freight growth expected to continue for much of 2023,” said Todd Tranausky, vice-president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “This will in particular give rail carriers an opportunity to hire to meet demand and use that headcount to improve service levels for the next upward cycle.”

Fuel prices will remain a “wild card” for shippers, FTR projects, but conditions should improve as capacity utilization eases.

SCI chart

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