Orders & Indices


FTR Trucking Conditions Index for July Improved to a Reading Above Neutral

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for July improved slightly to a just above neutral reading of 0.28.  Lower diesel prices offset the effects of lower capacity utilization pushing the reading into positive territory for the first time since January. Although some positive readings are possible over the next year, the outlook is for primarily negative to neutral readings throughout the time frame. 


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders for August Up Modestly from July at 10,400 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for August at 10,400 units, up a modest 4% m/m but down 80% y/y. Class 8 orders have fallen into a narrow range since May, averaging 11,000 units a month during that period. OEMs have built through much of the backlog created by the record orders in 2018. Fleets are in no hurry to start ordering for 2020, as there are expected to be ample build slots available and no component part shortages. It is expected that the market will return to normal, seasonal order cycles, with large fleets placing their 2020 requirement orders in Q4. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have totaled 298,000 units.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Improves Again in June

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) rose to a good positive reading in June of 8.8, up two points from the updated May measure. The June SCI reading is the strongest since February 2016.


FTR Trucking Conditions Index Improves Significantly in June, But Still Negative

FTR’s revised Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) showed a significant improvement in June but remained in slightly negative territory at a reading of -0.82. Strengthening freight demand and lower diesel prices were offset by weak truckload rates and easing capacity utilization plus some higher financing costs that negatively affected carriers during the month. FTR’s forecast for the TCI is for it to remain in low single-digit negative range into 2020, but some positive readings are possible during 2019.


FTR Reports July Preliminary Trailer Orders Rebound from June But Still Weak at 9,000 Units

FTR reports preliminary trailer orders for July at 9,000 units, up 61% from dismal June numbers but 68% below July 2018. Trailer orders continue to show weakness during the summer months after experiencing a record run in the second half of last year. Van fleets already have their orders in for 2019 and have not started ordering yet for 2020. Although currently, production remains robust at near-record levels, some easing of build rates is expected as backlogs fall significantly to where they were at the start of 2018. Trailer orders for the past 12 months now total 324,000 units.


Freight Environment is Weak but Still Growing Slightly

Although initial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the second quarter of 2019 show economic growth at 2.1%, the components of GDP linked to demand for and transportation of goods was far weaker, according to an analysis by FTR Transportation Intelligence. FTR estimates that the GDP Goods Transport Sector rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of just 0.5% in 2019Q2 from the first quarter of the year. To put this into context, the GDP Good Transport Sector grew 3.2% in 2018 and 5.7% in 2017.


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders for July Fall Below 10,000 Units for First Time Since 2010

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for July were 9,800 units, falling below a 10,000-unit threshold that has not been breached since 2010. Despite most order boards being opened for 2020 build slots, carriers appear in no rush to grab production capacity. July orders were 24% below an already soft June with a -82% y/y comparison. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now fallen to a total of 288,000 units.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Improves Sharply in May

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May improved sharply to a reading of 5.6, nearly four points higher than the April reading. Market conditions are the most favorable for shippers in years and are expected to continue in the current range for the remainder of 2019. The principal strength is continued softening of truckload and intermodal rates with rail stabilizing. Fuel prices may put some pressure on shipper costs due to the recent rise in crude prices; however, those increases appeared to level off at under $60/barrel.