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Class 8 NG sales down 23 percent YTD through November

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ACT Research’s Ken Vieth said with the narrowed fuel price spread between diesel and natural gas, it really isn’t surprising that sales of natural gas units softened. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — U.S. and Canadian Natural Gas Class 8 truck retail sales rose 13 percent in 2017, but shed 23 percent year-to-date through November 2018, according to a recent quarterly report “AFQ: Alternative Fuels Quarterly” released by ACT Research.

Year-to-date sales at this point in 2017 were up 9 percent. “On a nominal basis, natural gas retail sales are down about 700 units for the first 11 months of 2018 on a year-over-year basis,” said Ken Vieth, senior partner and GM. “Based on news released in the popular press, natural gas vehicle purchases continued to be dominated by refuse fleets, as well as transit and school bus operators.”

Vieth said with the narrowed fuel price spread between diesel and natural gas, it really isn’t surprising that sales of natural gas units softened.

That said, it is important to remember that the conversion of a fleet from diesel to natural gas doesn’t rest entirely on the savings of fuel,” he said. “Natural gas offers more consistent fuel pricing and is one way fleets can meet more stringent environmental requirements, particularly where renewable natural gas is available. Transportation power is no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition. All viable commercial vehicle power alternatives, from diesel and natural gas to electric of all kinds, must now be considered to accurately measure potential cost savings, while meeting future emissions.”

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets.

For more information on ACT or the Alternative Fuels Quarterly, please visit http://www.actresearch.net/altfuelquarterly/.  8

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ACT Research: Heavy duty markets at the edge of the precipice

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This graph by ACT Research shows freight growth will decline in 2020 and 2021 before accelerating in 2022, Class 8 truck productivity will remain in the negative through 2022 but will become less each year. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind.  – According to ACT Research’s latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, current data and anecdotes make a strong case that the heavy-duty vehicle markets are at the edge of the precipice.

“Since the start of this demand up-cycle in late 2017, we have targeted this year’s third quarter as the point at which the industry was likely to see production rollover,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “That targeting was largely derived from historical precedent, with historical peak-level build lasting between 13 and 15 months. For the current cycle, we date peak build rates to June 2018, so August represents the 15th month of peak-level production.”

Regarding heavy vehicle demand, Vieth said, “At the heart of our cycle duration prediction, carrier profitability and production peaks always lag the freight cycle, so capacity building always accelerates relative to freight growth at exactly the wrong time, every time.

“Large new inventories and deteriorating freight and rate conditions suggest erring on the side of caution remains the right call, and we are warning those in the industry to be prepared for down weeks starting as early as fourth quarter.”

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies.

More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

 

 

 

 

 

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FTR’s June Trucking Conditions Index up slightly but still negative

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An FTR executive said although rates remain weak for carriers, they appear at least to be stabilizing. (The Trucker file photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s revised Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) showed a significant improvement in June but remained in slightly negative territory at a reading of -0.82, according to FTR.

Strengthening freight demand and lower diesel prices were offset by weak truckload rates and easing capacity utilization plus some higher financing costs that negatively affected carriers during the month.

FTR’s forecast for the TCI is for it to remain in low single-digit negative range into 2020, but some positive readings are possible during 2019.

Details of the revised TCI for June are found in the August issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published July 31. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section in the current issue explains how FTR’s July 2019 Freight•cast model update affects key FTR metrics on the trucking industry, including the TCI. Along with the TCI and ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light,’ the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs and the truck driver situation.

“Although rates remain weak for carriers, they appear at least to be stabilizing,” said  Avery Vise, vice president of trucking. “Meanwhile, freight demand appears firmer in recent weeks than in early spring, but the outlook is far from rosy given a softening industrial sector. Our biggest near-term concern, however, is the potential impact of the trade war with China on consumer spending and business investment.”

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.

As noted, FTR in July completed a major update of its Freight•cast model, including both updated data and enhancements to the methodology. FTR traditionally has treated the TCI as a contemporaneous assessment of overall conditions at a point in time, so we have made very few changes to historical TCI readings. However, given the noticeably different freight volume and utilization metrics following the model update – especially during 2014 through today – we have restated the TCI back to January 2014. The historical revisions also reflect a more robust measure of market rates that FTR adopted in the spring of 2018. Directionally, the old and new TCI are largely correlated since mid-2016, but the updated TCI shows peak conditions occurring earlier in 2018 than the prior metric. Moreover, that peak range was not as strong and was shorter than previously indicated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MVT Solutions offers no cost fuel efficiency reports

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Fleets currently relying on MVTS results include Hirschbach Motor Lines, Penske Truck Leasing, Nussbaum Transportation, Mesilla Valley Transportation, C.R. England and Charger Logistics. (Courtesy: MVT SOLUTIONS)

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — MVT Solutions, a provider of fuel economy testing and design and development services for the trucking industry, Thursday said that the test reports for its Certified Products are now available on a no-cost subscription basis.

“Receiving MVTS Certification is a mark of fuel efficiency excellence for a product and we feel strongly that the industry should have that information and the supporting test data in a timely manner and at no cost,” said Daryl Bear, lead engineer & COO at MVT Solutions. “In addition, the suppliers of the certified products have confidence that their results are being delivered by a trusted source to companies that are interested in their technologies.”

While MVT Solutions Certified Products’ Test Reports with the detailed test data on the latest fuel efficiency solutions for transportation companies are posted on the company’s website, the new subscription service ensures results are delivered automatically as soon as they are available giving fleets the ability to have the most up-to-date information, Bear said, adding that fleets currently relying on MVTS results include Hirschbach Motor Lines, Penske Truck Leasing, Nussbaum Transportation, Mesilla Valley Transportation, C.R. England and Charger Logistics.

Certified fuel economy testing by MVT Solutions was developed from race car engineering and advanced vehicle test methods using sensors and recording systems that collect data on fuel consumption, aerodynamics, rolling resistance, driver behavior and other variables that affect fuel consumption. The data is analyzed using proprietary methods.

Subscribing can be done via the MVT Solutions website or by following the company on LinkedIn.

MVT Solutions test reports for custom and developmental testing done for fleets or suppliers are released only with the permission of the company and are not part of the subscription service.

 

 

 

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