Orders & Indices


FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for June Reflects Freight Rebound, Tight Capacity

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index reading of 11.35 for June is the highest in a decade and comes just two months after a record-low April reading of -28.66. However, it is unclear how long the positive factors affecting the June reading - a combination of higher utilization and strong growth in freight demand and rates - will remain in place.
Details of the June TCI are found in the August issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published July 31. Additional commentary looks at some barriers, especially driver supply, to restoring trucking capacity. Beyond the TCI and FTR’s COVID-19 intelligence, the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.


FTR Reports Preliminary North American Class 8 Net Orders for July strongest since October 2019 at 20,000 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders rebounded in July to 20,000 units, up 28% from June, and double the orders that we had in July of 2019. Class 8 net orders for the last 12 months now total 168,000 units. 
The strengthening truck market that occurred in June and July resulted in further improvement for new truck orders. Demand for new trucks was better than expected, but uncertainty around increasing coronavirus case counts and Congressional action on unemployment benefits may dampen the market as we move into fall.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for May Falls Sharply M/M but Remains Historically High

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May fell sharply to 24.8 from the extraordinarily high pandemic-impacted 41.3 April reading. While not nearly as positive as April, May’s SCI was still the second highest on record.
All inputs to the measure were weaker in May than in April, but all remained positive, especially capacity utilization and rates. From May onward, the SCI should stabilize at a high single-digit positive measure throughout the year. However, a tightening of the trucking spot market in June may foreshadow less robust conditions for shippers in the near term.


FTR Reports Final Trailer Orders Rose Significantly in June to 14,400 units

FTR reports final net U.S. trailer orders for June rose significantly to 14,400 units. This was 10,000 units above May and up 9,000 units y/y. Trailer orders rebounded after two sluggish months, with June being the second-highest monthly total this year. Trailer orders for the past twelve months total 164,000.

The June increase was boosted by a recovery in the dry van market, supplemented by decent refrigerated van orders. Flatbed orders remain lethargic. Even though June activity was much improved, there is still too much uncertainty about the pandemic for fleets to have the confidence to order in large quantities. Backlogs continue to fall but are sufficient to support current production in the van segments, while flatbed producers continue to scramble for orders to build in Q4.


FTR’s May Trucking Conditions Index Bounces Back Sharply from April Low But Still Negative

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index reading for May rebounded from its worst-ever level in April to a reading of -5.19. While much improved, May’s reading is quite negative from a historical perspective. A sharp increase in freight was primarily responsible for the improvement as rates and utilization were still weak.

Consumers led the way as May brought the expected rebound in freight indicators. A less-negative industrial production forecast is the main contributor to a firmer freight outlook for the balance of 2020.


FTR Reports Preliminary North American Class 8 Net Orders for June Rebound to 15,500 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders rebounded in June to 15,500 units, up 130% from May, as well as, up y/y by 20%. Class 8 net orders for the last twelve months now total 158,000 units.
Fleets’ confidence is improving gradually, as the economy and freight markets recover from the pandemic-related restrictions. The June order volume may not be sustainable in July, however, because some of the larger fleet orders may be difficult to replicate in the short term. Order volume should exceed the 10,000-unit mark throughout the summer as freight volumes continue to improve.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Soars to 41.3 Reading in April

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for April soared to a reading of 41.3, more than double March’s 19.7 measure. April’s reading is expected to be the peak for the SCI during this unprecedented time for transportation.   Although most shippers’ revenues suffered greatly in April, the month may never be matched in terms of freight market conditions.  May shippers’ conditions will not meet April but they could be the second-best ever.  After May, FTR forecasts more stability in the SCI but still at double-digit positive readings into 2021.


FTR Reports May Final Trailer Orders at 4,300 Units

FTR reports final net trailer orders for May improved over the dismal April activity, coming in at 4,300 Units. May orders were +1200% m/m but still substantially lagging last year with a -64% y/y comparison. New orders are still tepid, and cancellations were elevated for the third consecutive month. Trailer orders for the past twelve months now total 155,000 units.
All segments except flatbeds and specialty experienced m/m order increases. It appears that fleets were still reluctant to replace old trailers in the throes of the pandemic, which crashed the economy in March. Carriers continue to monitor the freight markets closely before committing to placing orders for 2020 deliveries.