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FTR Reports Final Net Trailer Orders for July Met Expectations at 13,400 Units

FTR reports final July net trailer orders at 13,400 units, falling from June with a m/m drop of 29%, but still up 40% from last July.  The July activity met expectations with all segments except flatbeds taking a hit.  Trailers orders have now totaled 264,000 units over the past twelve months.  Production fell over 3% from June on a per day basis.  Backlogs fell 8% and remain 12% below a year ago.


Truck News | How Will the ELD Mandate Impact Pricing?

When the U.S. electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is fully implemented, trucking productivity could take a 2.5% hit, requiring the hiring of 60,000 additional drivers. Such a scenario, outlined by industry forecaster FTR, would push truck utilization to about 100%, potentially driving up trucking rates.


Union Pacific Again Tops Shippers’ Survey; BNSF Railway Slips

Omaha-based Union Pacific has topped a rail-customer satisfaction survey for the third straight year, while Warren Buffett’s BNSF Railway slipped from the upper tier. The Des Moines-based Soy Transportation Coalition, which represents soybean shippers, last week issued its seventh annual Railroad Report Card on customer views of rail service by the seven Class I railroads for the 2016 harvest. Union Pacific, employer of 8,000 people in Nebraska, ranked first in seven of 11 categories, including overall and customer service. The railroad ranked second in on-time performance and third in value.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Improves in May Reflecting Still Weak Contract Market Pricing

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May, as detailed in the July issue of the Shippers Update, improved from the previous month to a reading of -1.9.  The benign reading is a reflection of only moderately favorable truck freight growth and continued weak contract pricing.  Spot market pricing has been rising y/y for several months.  The Shippers Conditions Index is expected to have dynamic swings over the next year with shifts in overall capacity utilization and pricing taking effect as freight demand and regulations alter the landscape to differing degrees.  Indicators are currently pointing to tighter capacity at the new year eventually easing in early 2019 as regulatory drag slows.


Florida Times-Union | Harrison’s Changes Bring Slowdowns and Complaints to CSX

CSX’s efforts to streamline its operations have brought complaints from customers about deteriorating service. But the head of the railroad is blaming the problems on resistance to change within the company. According to the federal Surface Transportation Board, the complaints include significantly slower and unpredictable transit times while loaded and empty cars sit idle for days. The problems have forced some shippers to reduce or stop production or find other transportation, it said.


FTR Schedules State of Freight Webinar: Preparing for the ELD Future

FTR’s Noël Perry will present on the critical introduction of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), potentially the most important regulatory change since the Hours of Service changes in 2004, during FTR’s monthly State of Freight Webinar. FTR has been tracking the ELD story for more than five years ago. In 2004, capacity utilization neared the important 100% mark - and FTR believes the market will reach that standard in early 2018.


FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for May Unchanged and Remains in a Mid-Positive Range

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for May basically remained unchanged from April at a positive reading of 7.01. As detailed in the July issue of the Trucking Update, FTR notes that the spot rate market is a strong indicator that conditions for trucking companies are on the upswing with active truck utilization at just below 100%.  Spot market volumes and pricing have been up y/y for several months, although contract market prices are still weak, before fuel adjustments.  The freight environment in 2017 remains strong, although economic conditions are fluctuating enough that freight growth could weaken.  If growth does slow, that may mitigate the potential for critical capacity issues with the onset of ELD implementation at the end of the year.


FTR Reports Final Net Trailer Orders For June Were Above Expectations at 18,900 Units

FTR reports final June net trailer orders at 18,900 units, rebounding from May with a m/m improvement of 12% and a 58% increase over June 2016 orders.  The June activity was above expectations, with most segments moderately exceeding their May totals.  Trailers orders have now totaled 261,000 units over the past twelve months.  Production rose a surprisingly 5% from May primarily in the dry and refrigerated van sectors reducing the overall backlog by 6%.