Shippers facing toughest conditions of pandemic

Shippers in the U.S. faced their toughest conditions of the pandemic in February, according to FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI). The index dropped two points from January to -11.8, due to tight capacity and rising rates.

“Widespread weather-related disruptions in February weakened the conditions in the marketplace for shippers as capacity tightened and rates increased,” said Todd Tranausky, vice-president of rail and intermodal for FTR. “Going forward, catch-up freight volumes from disrupted businesses are likely to keep capacity tight in the coming weeks and months. As things normalize, the market will improve slightly as time goes on.”

FTR expects stabilization in fuel costs could help mitigate the pain, but that the index will remain in a more modest negative range in the months ahead.