Orders & Indices


FTR Reports June Preliminary Trailer Orders Plummet to 5,500 Units

FTR reports preliminary trailer orders for June at 5,500 units, down 53% month-over-month and 70% year-over-year. Orders fell to the lowest level since September 2009. Incoming dry van orders were weak and cancellations high, as fleets adjust orders previously placed according to their second-half needs. Refrigerated vans followed a similar pattern and flatbed orders remained feeble. Van production stayed fairly stable at high rates, while there is continued softening in the flatbed market. Sales are expected to moderate sometime in the second half of the year, as supply catches up with demand. Trailer orders for the past 12 months now total 343,000 units.


FTR Trucking Conditions Index Weakens in May

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index fell back nearly two points in May to a new reading of -2.3. The TCI has been in negative territory since March and reflects a general weakness in conditions affecting carriers. The outlook is for relative stability through the year with the possibility of some slightly positive readings month-to-month during the period.


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders for June Stay Well Below 20,000

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for June at 13,000 units, up 24% from May, but continuing to track well below 20,000 units. Including June activity, this is the weakest 6-month start to a year since 2010. Most orders for 2019 delivery have already been placed. Fleets are moving around previously placed orders and adjusting delivery times according to business conditions and smaller fleets and dealers are placing small fill-in orders, as production slots become available in the near term. Backlogs should fall under 200,000 units for first time since May 2018. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months now total 331,000 units.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Took Step Back in April

FTR’s April Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) took a step back in April to a reading of 1.9, close to a full point below March. The April SCI measure was negatively affected by stronger rail rates and higher fuel prices outweighing improved shipper conditions related to trucking. The outlook shows strong shipper conditions through 2019 as the rate environment is expected to become more favorable. Key factors to watch include fuel prices, truck utilization, and rail service.


FTR Reports May Preliminary Trailer Orders Fall to Lowest Level Since July 2016

FTR reports preliminary trailer orders for May at 11,700 units, the lowest total since July 2016. Orders for 2019 production have basically come to a halt, as most build slots for the year are already filled. Trailer builds were hefty for the third straight month and should remain elevated in the short-term; however, production numbers in the second half will likely moderate due to expected slower economic and freight growth. The flatbed segment is already showing signs of weakening due to easing in manufacturing and industrial activity. Trailers orders for the past 12 months now total 356,000 units.


FTR Trucking Conditions Index Improves Slightly in April – Still in Negative Territory

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index rebounded marginally in April to a -0.64 reading. Conditions improved slightly from the previous month, but TCI remains in negative territory as the rate environment continues to soften. Economic indicators linked to freight are generally weaker, and FTR expects that the index will remain in a narrow band of negative readings through 2019 and into the 2020 calendar year. 


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders for May at a Chilly 10,400 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for May scraped the bottom of the order cycle, coming it a lowly 10,400 units, or 29% below the slow April activity. This is the lowest volume for Class 8 orders since July 2016 and the weakest month of May since 2009, reflecting a minus 71% y/y comparison. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months now total 360,000 units.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for March Shows Positive Momentum

FTR’s March Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) rose two full points from February to a reading of 2.8 reflecting a continued easing of truckload and intermodal rates. The outlook is for improved shipper conditions through 2019.  However, some key areas to watch are fuel price increases and capacity utilization in trucking which can result in added costs for shippers.