NEWPORT, R.I. – It is a good time to be in trucking in the U.S. The economy is strong, freight needs to move, and rates are on the rise. Eric Starks, the chairman and CEO of FTR, pointed to several indicators during a business symposium for Volvo dealers and customers. The ATA Tonnage Index and FTR Loadings Index, which track absolute freight levels, are both trending upward. The flatbed market in particular has been going “crazy”, in part because of increasing demand to move pipe and fracking sand, the latter of which is moved in boxes, he said. “It’s eating up a huge amount of capacity.” Everything from consumer spending to home sales are adding to the demand.
NEWPORT, R.I. – Per Carlsson, is serving as interim president of Volvo Trucks North America at a particularly busy time. Truck sales are hotter than they’ve been in years. The business environment is not only strong in North America, but also Latin America and Europe. That hasn’t happened since 2007. Usually, when one global market is up, another tends to be down.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Intermodal volumes and related rates are on the rise this year, buoyed by a strong U.S. economy, but a shortage of rail capacity is also pushing more of the freight onto trucks, FTR Transportation Intelligence reports.
“We’re still expecting healthy growth in rates, even in the back half of the year,” said senior transportation analyst Todd Tanausky, during a webinar on the topic.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – The rollout of mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) continues in the U.S. And while some trucking operations have secured temporary waivers, analysts at FTR Intel believe a bid to exempt small carriers outright is unlikely to succeed.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has asked regulators to exempt small businesses making less than US $27.5 million in revenue, that don’t have an unsatisfactory safety rating, and have a safe record with no attributable at-fault crashes. It would last five years.
An exemption like that – already rejected during the regulatory review process – would essentially gut the mandate for ELDs, and has been opposed by the American Trucking Associations and safety advocacy groups. Eighty-one percent of over-the-road trucking companies, and 93% of one-truck operators among them, have had no DOT-recordable crashes in the past two years, FTR notes.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – Conditions remained strong in November despite a decline from the month before say analysts at FTR Intelligence.
The group’s monthly index measured a month-over-month decline to a level it calls more sustainable after extreme weather and tight labor conditions caused a short-term spike in October.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – FTR Intelligence is predicting the strong start for trucking in 2018 will continue, leaving fleets to get creative when solving the problems created by a market already at capacity.
Avery Vise, vice president trucking research, says although fuel rates leveled in the first week of the new year, they aren’t expected to drop dramatically in the near future, contributing to record-level spot rates and rising contract rates he expects will peak and then fall sometime in late 2018 or early 2019, but will still remain high.
The reefer market was also up in the first week of 2018, with a polar vortex creating an increased need for temperature-controlled transport to keep products from freezing.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – North America’s Class 8 truck orders pushed passed 30,000 units for the third month in a row this December – reaching 37,200 units – and totalling about 290,000 truck orders for the year, FTR says.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – Spot and truck rates pushed higher this fall as the U.S. truck market tightened, analysts at FTR have found. Some of the capacity should ease in the first quarter, after holiday shipments – but the fallout from mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) will have a say in that.
LOS ANGELES, CA – While some of the wild weather of 2017 had a dramatic impact on freight movements in parts of the United States, the Thomas wildfires moving through California isn’t having an impact, according to analysts at FTR Intelligence.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma affected movements in the Gulf Region of the southern U.S. during the fall, but FTR says the current fire, which has destroyed more than 270,000 acres of land triggering the evacuations of thousands, has not disrupted freight so far.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – Trucking conditions were up again in September according to analysts at FTR Intelligence.
Conditions showed growth of more than 3% month-over-month, despite what they called the weakest recovery on record related to efforts being made following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
FTR predicts strong demand for truck freight going forward should keep market conditions solidly positive through 2018.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – Sales of Class 8 vehicles rose for the fifth straight month in October according to analysts at FTR Intelligence.
The company released its preliminary Class 8 order numbers showing 62% growth over September, and 167% rise over orders for the same time last year.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – Fuel cost increases following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and increased logistic costs for shippers, caused shipping conditions in the United States full-load market to take a negative turn for the month of August, according to analysts at FTR Intelligence.
Although the increased fuel costs are temporary, the group says it expects the increase in logistics costs to continue into 2018.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – Class 8 truck sales continued to recover in September, reaching 22,100 units overall. That’s up 7% compared to the previous month, and 62% above a year ago.
Those order volumes meet expectations, and Canadian orders were “particularly robust” as fleets benefit from a strong economy, say the analysts at FTR.
North American Class 8 orders reached 239,000 units in the past 12 months.
“The recovery in the Class 8 market is building, and we saw that with the orders through the summer. Order totals never got that low and followed cyclical trends,” said Don Ake, vice president – commercial vehicles at FTR.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – North American Class 8 truck orders this August were 50% better than a year ago, and 14% above July totals, analysts at FTR report.
“Orders were up for the third straight month, and it looks like May’s 16,500 orders will be the low point for the year. Orders are expected to increase in September, leading into robust order activity in Q4,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles.
The numbers are in keeping with expectations and should help to fill remaining 2017 build slots, FTR concludes. It’s the best August order performance since 2014.
In the past 12 months, North American Class 8 orders have reached 231,000 units.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – FTR Intelligence expects the economy to slow down before the end of the year, matching slower freight growth.
The company reported improvements to shipping conditions in June over the previous month, but warns that slow contract pricing increases, and a modest weakening of the expected regulatory environment, will mean slower growth and fairly moderate conditions in the short-term.