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FTR Reports Final Net Trailer Orders for March 50% Above Last Year at 20,500 Units

FTR reports final March net trailer orders at 20,500 units, down 20% m/m but up 50% versus a year ago.  The drop off from February for both dry and refrigerated vans is simply due to the start of a typical seasonal decline for trailer orders, and the strong year over year comparison reflecting a positive trailer order environment.  Softening backlogs are also consistent with normal market conditions; production for March was robust.  Trailer orders have now totaled 246,000 units for the last twelve months.   


Market Place | Lull in Manufacturing Drives Merger in Trucking

Eric Starks, CEO of FTR, speaks with Marketplaces Sally Herships about the latest merger of two major trucking companies, Swift and Knight. The new company, Knight-Swift, will be based in Phoenix, where both companies have their headquarters.


FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for February Moves Up in Expectation of Tightened Market

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for February took a positive step, moving up about two and half points from January to a reading of 5.11. As detailed in the April issue of the Trucking Update, FTR expects the index to approach a double digit positive reading by year end due to the combination of freight growth and still-planned regulatory headwinds in 2017. FTR is forecasting improvement in freight growth in 2017, closing in on 4% loadings growth for the year. FTR’s regulatory forecast for 2017 has moved modestly down, although they still expect significant effect late in the year from the ELD implementation. On the downside, FTR does not expect contract rates to make a strong move for at least six months.


FTR Reports Class 8 Orders Still Steady in March at 22,800 Units

FTR reports preliminary Class 8 net orders for March at 22,800 units, slightly above expectations and much higher than a year ago for the third consecutive month. March orders were basically flat m/m and up 41% y/y.  Backlogs are now close to where they were a year ago, and production rates are expected to increase significantly beginning with March totals. Orders are forecast to stay close to this level through May, similar in trend to 2013. Class 8 orders for the past six months now annualize to 243,000, consistent with expected future build rates.


Fleet Owner | Putting the Freight Picture into Focus

So Eric Starks, president of research firm FTR Transportation Intelligence, gave a presentation at the 2017 Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) annual convention this week centered on the state of the U.S. freight market - in particular looking at factors that might help or hinder demand for trucking capacity in the months ahead.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for January Shows Capacity Tightening

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for January, as detailed in the March Issue of the Shippers Update, reflects a more challenging environment for shippers as 2017 gets underway with a -3.6 reading.  While capacity is tightening, shippers should be optimistic that regulatory drag will likely be slowed under the new Republican president and congress.  However, solid economic growth forecasts in the 2.5% range for 2017 are expected to increase overall costs for shippers.


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.