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December Class 8 orders down, but annual total is solid

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Preliminary data for the orders of Class 8 trucks in North America in December revealed a substantial decline from November, but the numbers for the year were quite strong, say two firms — ACT Research and FTR — that record and analyze order and sales information for new trucks, used trucks and trailers.

ACT Research said preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 21,300 units in December, down 24 percent sequentially from November and 43 percent from year-ago December.

“For all of 2018, Class 8 orders totaled 490,100 units, far outstripping the previous annual order tally set in 2004 at 390,000 units, with orders averaging 40,800 units/month last year,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Owing to its status as the strongest order month of the year, seasonal adjustment is always unkind to Class 8 orders in December, dropping the month’s volume to a 25-month low of 17,300 units. It is important to put slowing orders into context. With a 300,000-plus unit backlog and a solidly booked build schedule, the drop in orders is in-line with expectations.”

FTR reported preliminary North American Class 8 orders for December fell to 21,000 units, the lowest total since August 2017.

December order activity was as expected, with fleets ordering to secure a dwindling number of available build slots in the second half of 2019, FTR said, adding there are few build slots remaining for 2019, so the industry should expect orders totals to remain low the next several months. Backlogs will continue to fall but will remain lofty at the beginning of 2019.  Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 482,000 units.

“Order rates right now are not that relevant because of the record-breaking totals recorded in June and July last year,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles.\

Fleets got a jump on ordering to reserve 2019 build slots, so orders had to fall off at some point, and December was the start of it, he said.

“Because orders rates are reduced, they are not currently a good barometer of long-term demand. All the orders are in, the question now is how many of these orders will actually be built? We will have to watch the build rates and retail sales closely for clues about the future strength of the Class 8 market,” Ake said. “FTR is forecasting freight growth to ease back some from the 2018 peak, but remain vibrant for the first half of 2019. At some point, the economy and freight growth will moderate and truck builds will decline. Then order cancellation rates will rise.”

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Barr-Nunn creates new solo fleets, increased pay

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Barr-Nunn Transportation also offers an over-the road North fleet for those drivers living in West Virginia, Detroit, along with parts of Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. (Courtesy: BARR-NUNN TRANSPORTATION)

GRANGER, Iowa — Barr-Nunn Transportation has created new solo fleets and increased pay.

For drivers living in the northeastern United States, Ohio and some of Indiana and Kentucky there are now two options for home time.

Drivers can be home every weekend for two days and earn a maximum starting pay of 60 cents per practical mile or drivers can be home every other weekend for three days and earn a maximum starting pay of 61 cents per practical mile.

Barr-Nunn Transportation also offers an over-the road North fleet for those drivers living in West Virginia, Detroit, along with parts of Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa.  These drivers are home every 18 days for four full days and can earn a top starting rate of 62 cents per practical mile to start.

In addition to these starting rates all company drivers receive CSA safety bonuses of $725 or $550 every 90 days plus PTO (vacation) along with the money.  Over-the-road company drivers can earn over two weeks of PTO (vacation) in their first year with Barr-Nunn and they start receiving this PTO after 30 days.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance, 401(k) matching program, extra pay per mile on shorter hauls and paid life insurance are added benefits at Barr-Nunn.

For more information about Barr-Nunn Transportation visit their website at www.barrnunntruckingjobs.com or call 888-999-7576.

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FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index took step back in April

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The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market including freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. (The Trucker file photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s April Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) took a step back in April to a reading of 1.9, close to a full point below March.

The April SCI measure was negatively affected by stronger rail rates and higher fuel prices outweighing improved shipper conditions related to trucking.

The outlook shows strong shipper conditions through 2019 as the rate environment is expected to become more favorable.  Key factors to watch include fuel prices, truck utilization, and rail service.

“Shippers should continue to expect favorable conditions and an ability to easily get freight placed in the market,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “They will be aided by the relatively stable fuel prices through most of the rest of 2019 and somewhat slowing rail freight volumes.”

The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market. These conditions are: freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence the shippers’ freight transport environment. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. A negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem…and readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment. Double digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.

For more information about the work of FTR, visit www.FTRintel.com, follow us on Twitter @ftrintel, or call (888) 988-1699, ext. 1.

 

 

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ACT Research Trucking Index shows nearly across-the-board declines

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This chart shows the history of the Volume Index which dropped further into negative territory hitting 46.7 (SA), from 49.5 in April. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed nearly across-the-board declines, with capacity being the lone exception.

The Pricing Index fell considerably to 38.8, in May on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis, the lowest in survey history, from 45.4 in April.

The Volume Index dropped further into negative territory hitting 46.7 (SA), from 49.5 in April. Fleet productivity/utilization slipped to 46.0 in May on a seasonally adjusted basis down from 49.4 in April, and capacity growth increased to 54.6, from April’s 54.3 reading.

“May’s Pricing Index was the fourth consecutive negative number after 30 straight months of expansion. This confirms our expectation that the annual bid season is not going well for truckers,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst. “We continue to believe rates are under pressure from weak freight volumes and strong capacity growth.”

Volume in May fell for the sixth time in the past seven months, Denover said.

“The softness coincides with several other recent freight metrics, with the drop likely due in part to rapid growth of private fleets and the slowdown in the industrial sector of the economy,” he said. “The supply-demand balance reading loosened to 42.1, from 45.3 in April. The past seven consecutive readings have shown a deterioration in the supply-demand balance, with May the largest yet.”

The ACT Freight Forecast provides quarterly forecasts for the direction of volumes and contract rates through 2020 and annual forecasts through 2021 for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal segments of the transportation industry.

For the truckload spot market, the report provides forecasts for the next 12 months.

ACT is a publisher of new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market. ACT’s CV services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, major trucking and logistics firms, as well as the banking and investment community in North America, Europe, and China.

 

 

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