Orders & Indices


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.


FTR’s April Trucking Conditions Index Lowest Ever Ahead of Expected Improvement

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index reading for April was the lowest ever at -28.66, reflecting the contraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous low was -16.08 in September 2008. The only significant positive factor for the TCI was the cost of fuel; demand, utilization, and rates were extremely negative.
April represented the bottom for most freight-related economic indicators " a conclusion confirmed by an uptick in payroll employment in May " but the pace of recovery remains uncertain. We expect post-April trucking conditions to improve sharply while remaining in negative territory through early 2021. However, we are prepared for significant revisions in the outlook as we see more data on demand, capacity, and utilization.


FTR Reports North American Class 8 Net Orders Remain Subdued in May at 6,600 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for May remained subdued at 6,600 units. While up 61% from the dismal April activity, the May orders were down 37% y/y. Class 8 net orders for the last twelve months total 155,000 units.
Fleets remain reluctant to order trucks, as states extended restrictions due to COVID-19, creating additional economic turmoil. Orders are expected to continue to increase modestly, as economic activity resumes after many of the constraints are lifted. Freight volumes have picked up some after bottoming out in Mid-April. The recovery is expected to be slow and uneven. It has not started quite yet based on the weak Class 8 orders in May. June should be a better indicator, as more economic activity resumes.


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for March at 19.7 Reflects Strong Favorable Market Conditions

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for March at 19.7, which more than doubled the level of February, reflects the most favorable market conditions ever. Operational challenges remain, but utilization, rates, and fuel costs all turned highly favorable due to COVID-related influences. FTR projects that increasingly favorable conditions for shippers will likely send this index significantly higher in Q2 as plunging capacity utilization causes rates to fall and fuel costs sink further.


FTR’s March Trucking Conditions Index Previews the Industry’s Worst Quarter Ever

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index reading for March, at -8.69, is just the start of negative readings that almost certainly will lead to the worst quarter (Q2 2020) for the segment on record. FTR expects by far the worst monthly reading in April due to lockdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic before readings recover to still-negative conditions. We do not anticipate any positive TCI readings until around the middle of 2021, although the pace of economic recovery remains uncertain.
Details of the March TCI are found in the May issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published April 30. Additional commentary updates the COVID-19 discussion including their view on what a restart to the economy might look like. Along with the TCI and COVID-19 analysis, the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.


FTR Reports April Preliminary Net Trailer Orders Sink to Lowest Level in Modern Era at 300 Units

FTR reports preliminary net trailer orders for April sunk to the lowest level in the modern era (since 1990) coming in at just 300 units. April order activity was -95% m/m and -98% y/y. Trailer orders for the past twelve months now total 162,000 units.
The severe recessionary conditions caused many fleets to pull back on orders previously scheduled for 2020 delivery and place very few new orders. The dry van segment was hit particularly hard and refrigerated van orders suffered some as well. Vocational orders remained tepid after falling significantly in March. Some specialty segments are holding up better under the stress. Numerous OEM plants were shut down for part of April; some for health reasons, some for lack of orders and some for a combination of the two.