ECONOMIC WATCH: Shippers continue to see favorable conditions

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Conditions for U.S. shippers improved in November, with the FTR Shippers Conditions Index reading a positive 7.0 on the heels of three straight months at 6.4. All index inputs were stronger for shippers, except for freight volumes, which remained positive but muted. FTR feels the index is likely at its peak, but will remain positive through 2020.

It may soften due to firmer freight rates and tightening capacity.

Fuel prices could also weigh on shippers’ conditions.

“Capacity is forecast to slowly tighten over the course of 2020, which will lead to slightly worsening conditions for shippers,” said Todd Tranausky, vice-president of rail and intermodal for FTR. “Truck capacity is expected to slowly increase to its historical range this year, causing shippers to examine rail and intermodal alternatives as the increased truck utilization pushes truck rates higher and makes alternatives more attractive.”

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