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FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index’s Modest August Reading Does Not Tell the Whole Story

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for August, at a modest reading of 1.41, is not wholly reflective of the current environment for truckers.  As reiterated in the October issue of the Trucking Update, the TCI primarily tracks the contract markets which have largely been unaffected by the current tightness influencing spot market rates.  In addition, the major disruptions from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma had most of their impacts starting in September.


Transport Topics | Launches Spot Rate Forecasting Tool, in partnership with the research firm FTR, launched Rate Forecasting, a tool that projects spot market rates by balancing seasonal, geographic, random, economic, regulatory and permanent trends with deep statistical modeling.


JOC | Analysis: Trailer on Rail Resurgence Holds Driver Shortage Warning

Domestic container volume over the past six months through August was up 3.6 percent over the prior year, according to the Intermodal Assocication of North America's Equipment, Type, Size and Ownership database. Volume is up 5.4 percent over the same timeframe for those obsolete TOFCs. What’s going on? The answers to that question could possibly shed some light on a couple of important current issues on the intermodal table: e-commerce and the driver shortage


Fleet Owner | Optimism grows for significant freight rate increases

“When fleets begin ordering more trailers in September, it indicates the market should be robust the following year,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles. “Freight expansion early next year will severely strain industry capacity, and fleets will need to add trailers to handle the added loads.”


Trailer Body Builders | Winter is Coming

The punchline from economist Noël Perry’s outlook: “Let me put this in as sharp a set of terms as I can think of,” he began. “The changes we are looking at over the next 15 years are coming faster than anybody thinks. When the market changes, 90% of the incumbent customers, suppliers, carriers, brokers - and economists - will leave because we are not capable of dealing with that kind of change.”


FTR Reports Preliminary Trailer Orders for September at an impressive 21,500

FTR reports preliminary September net trailer orders at 21,500 units, up 47% from August and up an impressive 84% y/y.  Orders met expectations and support the FTR forecast of another strong trailer market in 2018.  Trailer orders have now totaled 275,000 units over the past twelve months, much in line with 2017 production numbers.


Freight Waves | End of Year Shaping Up just Fine for Carriers

“In addition to the recent activity, the outlook for continued capacity constraints as we move into 2018 is starting to make a significant impression,” Jonathan Starks, COO of FTR, wrote in a recent blog post. “Over the last year, while posted loads have more than doubled, truck availability has seen a 1/3 reduction. This has put the Market Demand Index (MDI) at record levels - surpassing the high levels seen during the winter of 2014. And this was even prior to the hurricane impacts. It has only gotten tighter from there.”


FTR Reports Class 8 Orders Continue to Improve in September

FTR releases preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for September at 22,100 units, continuing m/m increases of 7% versus August and 62% above a year ago. Order volume for September met FTR expectations as the market builds momentum heading into the fall order season.  Orders from Canada were particularly robust as fleets are benefitting from a strong economy. North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have totaled 239,000 units.