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FTR Reports Final Net Trailer Orders for February at 25,800 Units

FTR reports final February net trailer orders at 25,800 units, down 21% m/m but up 20% versus a year ago.  Even with the drop off from January, trailer orders have maintained some of the momentum of the previous three months.  The 2017 February orders were the highest for the month since 2014.  Refrigerated van orders stayed at historically high levels and dry van orders were steady this month.  Backlogs continue to climb for the fourth consecutive month, with production improving moderately, as expected.  Trailer net orders have now totaled 239,000 units for the last twelve months.


FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for January Unchanged - Better Year Ahead

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for January was basically unchanged from December at a reading of 2.7.  As detailed in the March issue of the Trucking Update, FTR expects January will be the low point for trucking conditions ahead of an expected bounce as 2017 progresses.  The election results have put the industry in an optimistic mood; however, FTR cautions that there are risks associated with some economic proposals being considered by the new administration and congress.


MH&L | Shippers Could Face Trouble with a Capital T (but it doesn't stand for Trump)

The environment for shippers is said to be “benign” right now, but there’s rate and supply trouble coming later in the year, according to the Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) compiled each month by transportation forecasting firm FTR. Capacity is expected to get steadily tighter throughout the year, climaxing early in 2018.


FTR Reports Class 8 Orders Strong Again in February at 22,900 Units

FTR releases preliminary Class 8 net orders for February at 22,900 units, exceeding expectations for the second month in a row with strong y/y comparisons.  February orders were up 5% m/m and 28% y/y.  The steady order trend has now pushed backlogs to over 100,000 units for the first time since June 2016.  February’s solid order activity continued the trend that began in November, with market momentum picking up speed at a measured pace.  The current order volumes should enable production to hit or exceed Q2 forecasts.  Class 8 orders for the past three months now annualize to 263,000 units.


Railroad Executive Hunter Harrison Could be at the Helm of CSX

Hunter Harrison is in the midst of discussions that could put him at the helm of CSX, the largest railroad in the eastern United States and third-largest in the country. Larry Gross, a rail expert with FTR Transportation Intelligence, put it this way: “In terms of a railroad operating manager, he’s about as good as there ever has been. His record is extremely strong.”

He has a very significant focus,” Gross said. “That means more miles out of the assets he owns. He likes to run longer trains, which means fewer trains if the volume is the same. He’s focused on trying to align the customer base with how the railroad can efficiently provide service. If you want two cars one week and 200 cars the next, that doesn’t work for him. He’ll either drop customers or raise your rates.”


Medill Reports Chicago | Opportunities Open Up for Women Truckers, but Their Numbers Remain Small

The demand for female drivers comes at a time when the U.S. is facing a serious trucker shortage. The trucking industry faces an immediate shortfall of 200,000, according to FTR, a freight transportation forecasting intelligence company, and the situation isn’t projected to get better.


FTR Reports Final Net Trailer Orders for January a Robust 32,800 Units

FTR reports final January net trailer orders at 32,800 units, down 4% m/m but up 86% y/y.  Orders were very strong for the third consecutive month and again exceeded expectations in January.  Backlogs likewise jumped for the third straight month to very healthy levels.  Dry van orders were very sturdy, up a huge 146% y/y, but reefers orders slowed, down 52% from December.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for December Stays Constant in Low, Positive Territory

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for December, as detailed in the February Issue of the Shippers Update, remains just above neutral territory at a reading of 1.9. FTR expects that the current benign environment will make way for rate and supply trouble for shippers as 2017 progresses. A steady increase in capacity utilization is expected through the year climaxing early in 2018. The one uncertainty to this forecast is the ELD mandate, which may be tempered by the deregulatory forces of the Trump administration.