Orders & Indices


FTR Reports July Preliminary Trailer Orders at 28,000 Units – A Record for the Month of July

U.S. trailer orders set a record for the month of July, coming in at a surprising 28,000 units. Trailer orders have now totaled an impressive 350,000 units for the past twelve months.  Orders were up 109% y/y.

OEMs have opened up some of the 2019 order boards, so fleets have started ordering a couple months early to reserve build spots and lock in prices. Carriers expect to add more trucks in 2019 and will need additional trailers for them. Freight growth continues to strain industry capacity. Refrigerated van orders were particularly strong, and dry van orders rebounded after a weak June.


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders for July Hit All-Time High

FTR reports that preliminary North American Class 8 orders for July hit an all-time high of 52,250 units, just surpassing the previous record of 52,194 orders in March 2006.  Class 8 orders were tremendous for the U.S. market, with most OEM’s achieving elevated levels.  Orders were up 25% m/m and 187% y/y. Orders have been astounding in 2018.  Five of the highest twelve order months ever have occurred in the first seven months of this year.  North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 445,000 units.


FTR’s May Shippers Conditions Index Remains in Significantly Negative Territory

The Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) reading from FTR remains in significantly negative territory in May at a -12.3 reading. The April SCI reading of -13.4 hit an all-time low reflecting the worse conditions for shippers ever measured by FTR.  While conditions continue to be tough for shippers, the environment for them could slowly stabilize through the year.  However, the overall conditions for shippers are still expected to remain negative through 2019.  Economic indicators generally suggest continued strength in freight volume, keeping capacity tight and rates up.


FTR Reports June Preliminary Trailer Orders at 18,600 Units in Line with Expected Summer Slowdown

In June, U.S. trailer orders fell for the sixth month in a row with preliminary orders reported by FTR at 18,600 units. Trailer orders have now totaled 335,000 units for the past twelve months.

The market has entered the traditional slow-order summer months.  Trailer production has held up fairly well despite some late supplier deliveries.  Build rates continue at robust levels and the backlog remains strong.  There is little need at this point for fleets to place many new orders. 


FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for May Remains at Full Capacity

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) was unchanged for May at a reading of 11.4 reflecting continued full capacity utilization.  Trucking conditions are only expected to improve as freight season enters its peak with the TCI reading growing further through the calendar year and likely into 2019. Excluding fuel surcharges, total truckload rates are forecast to be up an estimated 13% for all of 2018. As more capacity is slated to come on line, 2019 trucking conditions may moderate somewhat but they will still outpace recent years.

Details of the May TCI are found in the July issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published June 28, 2018. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section in the current issue discusses the unaccustomed uncertainty introduced to the economy from tariffs and a potential trade war. Along with the TCI and ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light,’ the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders for June at Historic Highs

 FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for June at 41,800 units, making it the highest June ever recorded, 140% above a year ago.  North American Class 8 orders have now exceeded 40,000 units in four of the six months in 2018.  Fleets are ordering such large numbers of trucks that the OEM production cannot keep up with demand due to component shortfalls.  The backlogs are being moved out further, which is pushing fleets to get orders in sooner rather than later so they can find a build slot.  North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have now totaled 411,000 units.


FTR’s April Shippers Conditions Index Falls to New Low

The Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) reading from FTR fell further into double digit negative territory in April at -13.4 signifying that there has not been capacity or rate relief for shippers in the current strong freight environment.  April may be the nadir in this cycle as conditions likely will not get significantly worse for shippers over the balance of the year.  Overall y/y rate growth is close to near-term peak. Shippers could see some stabilization in 2019 as more capacity comes on line.  However, there is no expectation for lower rates on an absolute basis until at least late 2019.  Total shipping costs, with transportation the largest share, are forecast to rise an estimated 12% y/y in 2018 with another 5% increase expected in 2019.


Spot Market Posts Records During International Roadcheck

FTR reports that the spot market was the tightest ever -by far- during week 23 of 2018 (June 2nd-8th).  The ratio of loads available to trucks available in the system, called the Market Demand Index (MDI), was 77.7 to 1. The previous high was 61.9 in week 14 of this year. To put these numbers in perspective, the five-year average is 23.8 for week 23 and 17.5 for week 14. The imbalance in the spot market was more than three times the usual imbalance.