Orders & Indices


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Slides Again in January to a 3.7 Reading

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for January dropped about a point from December to a 3.7 reading. While the reading in January was still positive, the measure has dropped each of the last three months and in January was the lowest since October 2018. Freight volume was the largest positive contributor in January with capacity utilization and logistics showing weaker contributions during the month.


FTR Reports Trailer Orders for February Fall to a Paltry 13,000 Units

Trailers order activity for February felt the impact of the COVID-19 virus, sliding to a paltry 13,000 units, the lowest total for the month of February since the recession year of 2009. February 2020 trailer orders were down 20% m/m and 45% y/y.

Trailer orders have now totaled 184,000 units for the past twelve months. Trailer orders were generally weak across all segments and OEMs. Cancellations were up, representing the anxiety in the market and the country. Order trends largely mirrored what occurred in the Class 8 market.


FTR Trucking Conditions Index Eases in January; Outlook is Uncertain

With little change in the conditions affecting trucking, FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for January eased from December to a new reading of 2.04. Improved capacity utilization in the sector was more than offset by weaker demand and weaker rates than in the previous month. 

The TCI tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the U.S. truck market. These conditions are: freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price, and financing. The individual metrics are combined into a single index indicating the industry’s overall health. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings (up or down) suggest significant operating changes are likely.


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders Fall Unexpectedly in February to 14,100 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for February fell an unexpected 20% from January, to a total of 14,100 units. This is the lowest order activity for the month of February since 2010 and down 18% y/y. Fleets were already being very cautious in equipment purchases due to the flat freight market and slowing economy; now the COVID-19 virus has added to that uncertainty. Orders had been right at replacement levels for four months but now it appears fleets will take a pause in replacing older trucks until current anxiety dissipates. Class 8 orders have totaled 177,000 over the past twelve months.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Slips in December to a 4.6 Reading

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for December slipped to 4.6 from its November reading of 7.0. While not as strong as November, utilization and logistics costs remained positive factors, with December freight volume slightly negative. The only input to the SCI more positive in December versus November was fuel costs. The feared impact of IMO 2020 on fuel costs has not yet materialized. Diesel prices at the beginning of February were the lowest in more than two years.


FTR Trucking Conditions Index Takes Bump Up in December

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) rose to 3.02 in December on improved freight demand and spot rates. The December reading is the highest since January 2019 and the first positive reading since 0.28 in July. FTR expects the TCI to return to readings closer to neutral conditions before improving modestly in the second half of 2020.


FTR Reports Trailer Orders for January Basically Unchanged from December at 16,600 Units

FTR reports that preliminary trailer orders for January were basically unchanged from December at 16,600 units. This is the lowest January order activity since 2011. Over the past twelve months, Trailer orders have totaled 194,000 units.
Orders remained in a narrow track for the third consecutive month, closely following the trend in the Class 8 market reflecting cautious equipment buying by fleets. Large fleets, especially leasing fleets, are not ordering many vans. Additionally, the flatbed market remains weak due to the sluggishness in the manufacturing sector of the economy.


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders for January at 17,700 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders for January at 17,700 units, following a consistent trend over the last four months when orders have averaged 19,000 trucks. The January total, -10% m/m and +12% y/y, suggests fleets are ordering only the equipment they are sure they need in the short term. FTR expects Class 8 orders to remain in this narrow range through the first quarter of the year. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 181,000 units.