Orders & Indices


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.


FTR Reports April Preliminary Trailer Orders Remain Subdued as OEM’s Fill Order Boards for 2019

FTR reports preliminary trailer orders for April 2019 remained subdued for the second consecutive month coming in at 13,200 units, which is 40% below the same month in 2018. However, the low order level does not in any way reflect a softening of demand, but rather the fact that many large OEM’s have filled their order boards for 2019. Backlogs remain hefty, with robust production levels. Trailers orders for the past 12 months now total 364,000 units.


FTR Trucking Conditions Index for March is the First Negative Reading in Several Years

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for March fell to -1.18, its first negative reading in several years. The measure reflects a softening environment for carriers as freight rates continue to ease and demand outlook is sluggish although positive. Active truck utilization, as well as the truckload (TL) rate outlook, continued to ease in March. The weakness in TL rates is mostly on spot rates, but the contract rate outlook also has turned slightly negative. FTR’s outlook for loadings growth is slightly down from previous forecast with y/y growth now expected to be just under 2%. 


FTR Reports North American April Class 8 Orders Again Below 20,000 at 16,400

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for April at 16,400 units, 52% below April 2018. This is the fourth consecutive month for Class 8 orders to be below the 20,000 mark and is the lowest April total since 2016. Orders have remained remarkably consistent for the first four months of the year, tracking within a narrow 1,000-unit range, with April just 5% up from March. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months now total 380,000 units.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for February Stays in Positive Territory for Fifth Consecutive Month

At a near neutral reading of 0.6, FTR’s February Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) reflects a balanced freight market. February is the fifth consecutive month that the SCI has been in positive territory with forecasts for the shipping environment to gradually improve through early Q4. After that, conditions should settle into a near neutral range with truck freight rates expected to be down, capacity additions likely decelerating and a relatively stable fuel cost outlook.  However, if recent increases in crude oil prices continue, that could raise shippers’ costs and negatively impact the SCI reading.


FTR Trucking Conditions Index Continues Fall Towards Neutral Reading in February

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index fell in February to a reading of 1.71.  This is the lowest reading for the index since August 2017 and reflects the easing market conditions for this transportation segment.  Economic indicators linked to freight volume are generally weaker entering the new year and the rate environment in trucking continues to soften.  FTR projects the TCI measure to remain close to neutral throughout 2019 and into 2020.


FTR Reports March Preliminary Trailer Orders at 13,500 Units, the Lowest Since September 2016

FTR reports preliminary trailer orders for March 2019 at 13,500 units, plummeting to the smallest monthly total since September 2016 and the lowest March since 2008. Recent comparisons were also very negative -43% m/m and -52% y/y. Trailers orders for the past 12 months now total 371,000 units.


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders for March Below Twenty Thousand for the Third Consecutive Month at 15,200 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for March at 15,200 units, remaining below the twenty-thousand threshold for the third consecutive month. March 2019 was the lowest March for orders since 2010. March orders were 8% below February and down 67% y/y. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 397,000 units.