Orders & Indices


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders Plunge to the Lowest Level in Modern Era at 4,000 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders plunged for the second month in a row to an unprecedented level of 4,000 units. April order activity was the lowest in the modern era (1996), 44% below March, and 73% less than a year ago. Class 8 orders for the last twelve months now total just 160,000 units.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index Significantly Increases in February Reflecting a Sharply Positive Freight Market

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index increased significantly in February to a reading of 7.93 up from January’s 3.73. This increase ended three straight months of small declines. It is likely to increase dramatically in the next few months in response to weak volumes and rates stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The sharp uptick is not necessarily a sign that shippers are doing well, as much as it showcases the impact on transportation of the COVID-19 virus. It is not expected to remain at elevated levels for long, but will remain positive for shippers through the balance of 2020 as capacity will be slow to reach equilibrium.


February Likely The Last Positive Month For FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index Until 2021

Sharp declines in freight volumes, utilization, and rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to the worst overall trucking conditions on record during the second quarter of this year, according to FTR’s projections for the Trucking Conditions Index (TCI). FTR forecasts that the TCI will hit its lowest points in April and May, but the current outlook is for the index to remain negative well into 2021.
The most recent final index reading was 0.96 for February, which was down from January but still slightly positive. Before the COVID-19 crisis in March, the TCI had been positive for three straight months, which had not happened in a year.


FTR Reports Trailer Orders Fall Precipitously in March to 6,500 Units

FTR reports preliminary trailer orders for March continue to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, falling 54% from an already depressed February to 6,500 units for the month. Orders were down 55% from March 2019.
Totals in March were particularly weak for dry vans with some large fleets canceling orders that were spread out over the remainder of the year. Flatbed orders were also tepid, as the manufacturing sector of the economy was partially shut down in March. Refrigerated van orders fell, but not to the same degree as other segments. Trailer orders for the past twelve months now total 177,000 units.


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Orders for March Plummet to 7,400 Units with Large Cancellations

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 orders plummeted in March to 7,400 units, the lowest order total since 2010. March orders were -48% m/m and -52% y/y. A significant number of fleets canceled orders previously placed due to the sharp and sudden downturn in economic conditions.


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.