ECONOMIC WATCH: Shippers saw best conditions ever in March – Truck News

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – U.S. shippers enjoyed favorable market conditions
in March, with an FTR Shippers Conditions Index reading of 19.7 – more than
double February’s reading.

(Chart: FTR)

That reflected the most favorable market conditions ever. FTR
attributes it to Covid-19’s affect on utilization, rates, and fuel costs, and
projects conditions to remain in shippers’ favor higher, as capacity
utilization and rates fall.

“We know that the
SCI is going to surge in the second quarter as the pandemic drove freight
levels down, thus, freeing up an unprecedented amount of trucking capacity,”
said FTR CEO Eric Starks. “The real question is when will the turning point
occur and start to move the SCI lower again. With recent freight data through
the end of May showing an uptick in activity, the SCI should move in an inverse
fashion and drive the index number lower in June. One thing we will be watching
is a potential shortage of capacity available for shippers in the short-term as
carriers and drivers adjust to any sporadic upsurge in regional demand over the
next several months. However, much will depend on the spread of the coronavirus
and its impact on the broader economy.”

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