FTR Associates on Wednesday, April 18, announced that its Shippers Conditions Index for February declined by a full point from the previous month to a reading of -5.6, as demand for trucking services grew strongly in what is normally a slack month.
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 said the February index reading shows a still-strengthening economy that is reducing capacity available to shippers. According to FTR, the index should remain in a relatively tight range through 2012 and then fall into more negative territory as hours-of-service regulations are implemented in 2013.
“February was unusually strong, with demand for trucking services rising over 4 percent year over year,” said Larry Gross, FTR senior consultant. “This effectively sets the table for a relatively tight capacity situation going forward as demand ramps up seasonally in the coming months. We therefore expect the balance of pricing power to remain firmly on the side of the carriers for the balance of the year.”
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.