Omicron ‘Wild Card’ Affecting 2022 Shipping Conditions: FTR

Shippers continue to face challenging transportation conditions as diesel prices surge and truck capacity shrinks, FTR’s latest Shippers Conditions Index shows.

The freight analyst reports that conditions could east at some point in 2022, but it largely depends on how the Omicron variant affects the supply chain and public policy in the new year.

The Shippers Condition Index tracks the full-load freight market’s freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity and fuel prices.

“Shippers conditions should gradually ease in the new year with active truck utilization moving off of the full utilization level it has maintained since the recovery from the pandemic started in 2020,” said Todd Tranausky, vice-president – rail and intermodal.

“But active truck utilization is still expected to be at high levels throughout 2022 and it will take time for additional rail capacity to come online. This will keep shippers’ conditions from improving dramatically or quickly in the new year. Uncertainty about the disruption that could be caused by the Omicron variant remains high and could prove to be a wild card for demand and supply early in the new year.”

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