FTR’s Intermodal Competitive Index rebounded in August to a reading of 2.16, easing some of the concerns of the previous month’s weak reading, according to FTR.

The updated August reading was not particularly strong, but the rebound from July’s low confirmed FTR’s suspicions that the number of work days in July adversely affected the index. Most of August’s gain can be traced to slightly tighter over-the-road trucking utilization rates.

August domestic intermodal volume was up compared with July, but international volume was still considered problematic. FTR also believes that future regulations will have a significant impact on the intermodal market.

“Although competitive conditions for intermodal remain challenging, more favorable conditions remain on the horizon,” said Larry Gross, partner at FTR and author of FTR’s Intermodal Update.

“Although not yet reflected in trucking rates, we believe that trucking capacity is slowly beginning to tighten in anticipation of the implementation of the electronic logging device mandate, now 14 months away.  This should result in a better climate for intermodal as we move through next year.”

The ICI was designed to build on FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index and Shippers Condition Index, which take the temperature of other important aspects of the trucking industry. The ICI combines different factors, including relative rates versus truck, industry capacity versus demand, fuel prices and intermodal service levels.