According to FTR Associates, its latest Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) suggests that truck capacity will be tightening as 2012 winds down and will continue to tighten slowly in 2013.

The SCI’s September reading of -6.9 was basically unchanged from August. FTR said that the “range where the SCI has settled indicates the current status of stable but slightly tight truck capacity. Shippers should expect to see a gradual deterioration in shipping conditions as 2012 ends and throughout 2013 as freight demand slowly improves while impending regulations restrict driver productivity and hence, truck capacity.”

“Shippers continue to enjoy a period of stability and limited increases in trucking rates for the moment,” pointed out FTR senior consultant Larry Gross. “Uncertainty with regard to the future will continue at high levels until the outcome of ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations becomes clear.

“We are optimistic that the results of these discussions will not inflict great damage to the economy,” he continued. “With the re-election of President Obama, we can expect the current regulatory climate to remain in place.  The conditions are therefore set for slow tightening in freight markets as we move through next year.”

Details of the factors affecting the September SCI are found in the November issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published November 8.