Orders & Indices


FTR Reports Preliminary U.S. Net Trailer Orders for August Provide Positive Momentum with a Jump to 28,700 Units

FTR reports that preliminary U.S. net trailer orders for August jumped 49% m/m to 28,700 units, the strongest activity since last October. August orders were 174% above the same month during the previous year, with trailer orders for the last twelve months now totaling 191,000 units.
Dry van orders were particularly robust, with refrigerated vans also displaying strength. Flatbed orders improved from July but remain sluggish, as industrial freight continues to lag consumer freight. Backlogs are expected to rise to near pre-pandemic levels.


FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for July Remained Positive Due to Stronger Freight Rates

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for July at 2.84 was down from the previous month’s 11.35 reading, but trucking conditions remain favorable for carriers as the recovery continues. Carriers took advantage of stronger freight rates while the freight demand and capacity utilization that set the stage for those rates settled somewhat during the month. FTR expects the TCI to stay in positive territory through the balance of the year and into 2021.
Details of the July TCI are found in the September issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published August 31. Additional commentary analyzes the risks to the freight market from inventories-to-sales ratio disparities in the supply chain resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the TCI and the commentary, the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, and rates. FTR also publishes ongoing publicly available analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on freight transportation at FTR’s COVID-19 intelligence.


FTR Reports Preliminary North American Class 8 Net Orders for August Continue to Climb - Reaching 20,500 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders continued to climb in August, reaching 20,500 units for the month. August order activity was very consistent with July, up 3% m/m, and up 90% y/y. Class 8 net orders for the last 12 months now total 177,000 units.  
Large fleets continue to buy new trucks according to their replacement cycles, with a few orders going towards expansion purposes. Orders are expected to stay in the 20,000 range for the next few months with buyer confidence increasing as the economy recovers and freight volumes rise. There is less uncertainty regarding the pandemic as businesses and consumers adapt to the current environment.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Falls Sharply Again in June to Near Neutral Reading

After two historic months, FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index weakened markedly in June’s reading of 1.03, down from 24.8 in May. The key shift m/m was in capacity utilization which had been a strong positive in May but was the only negative factor in June. Rates remained a positive contributor to the June SCI but a much smaller one than in May. FTR’s current outlook is for stronger conditions with SCI readings in the mid-to-high single digits through the rest of 2020.


FTR Reports Final Net Trailer Orders Continue to Climb in July to Highest Level in 2020

FTR reports final net trailer orders continued to climb in July, reaching 19,300 units, their highest level for the year. July order activity was up 33% from June and +84% y/y. Trailer orders now total 173,000 for the past twelve months. 

Dry van orders sustained their momentum after diving perspicuously during the pandemic. Refrigerated van orders were solid for the second straight month. However, flatbed orders remained soft, as the manufacturing sector struggles to regain its footing. Backlogs should begin to stabilize, providing a base for higher 2021 production.  


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.