FTR Associates’ Shippers Conditions Index improved in October by 1.1 points from the previous month to a current reading of -3.6.
The SCI sums up all market influences that affect shippers; a reading above zero suggests a favorable shipping environment, while a reading below zero is unfavorable.
FTR described the current environment for shippers as stable through early next year with only modest increases in costs and acceptable available capacity levels. However, FTR cautioned that shippers could start to experience a much more negative environment as early as mid-2012 depending on the ultimate outcome of the hours of service revision underway.
Larry Gross, senior consultant for FTR, said, “There is more than the usual amount of uncertainty in the outlook for shippers at the moment as it appears that we are finally approaching the hour when the FMCSA will issue its much-anticipated revised rules for trucking hours of service. Our current assumption is that the revised rule will take effect in late 2012 and will have a substantial negative effect on shipping conditions.”