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February figures show Class 8 orders continue to surge in 2018

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An FTR official said the Class 8 market remains “red-hot” and that the capacity crunch is transforming into a capacity crisis and many fleets of all sizes, in all markets, across the country are scrambling to add trucks as fast as they can. Pictured is the Volvo VNL 760. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

Orders for Class 8 truck continues to be strong, according to the two companies that analyze sales in the commercial vehicle market.

ACT Research said preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 40,600 units in February.

“Robust Class 8 order placements continued in February,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “For the month, Class 8 orders totaled 40,600 units – the eighth-best order month on record and the ninth time in history in which orders eclipsed the 40,000-unit mark. Seasonal adjustment reduces the month’s order largess to 37,600 units, up 63 percent compared to last February’s order intake.”

FTR reported preliminary North American Class 8 orders for February at 40,200 units.

Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR, said the February volume was much above expectations and exceeded the 40,000 level for the second consecutive month, something that has not happened since November and December 2014.

February order activity was down 15 percent month-over-month but up 76 percent year-over-year.

Fleets are striving to add hauling capacity in response to strong freight growth, Ake said, adding that OEM orders were sturdy across the board for all markets and truck types.

North American Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 333,000 units.

“The Class 8 market remains red-hot,” Ake said. “The capacity crunch is transforming into a capacity crisis and many fleets of all sizes in all markets across the country are scrambling to add trucks as fast as they can.  Robust freight growth is the primary driver, and ELD implementation is just exacerbating a tough situation.

“It looks like fleets held back some orders from the fourth quarter to see if freight growth would continue and if ELDs were final.  Now that the environment is more certain, the orders have been pouring in. This upturn looks strikingly similar to 2015, but is now expected to exceed it.  Production is ramping up and should remain vibrant into next year.”

ACT Research said preliminary North America Classes 5-8 net order data show the industry booked 67,700 units in February, making it the third-strongest order month since the EPA’07 pre-buy-fueled March 2006 order volume and the fifth-best order month of the millennium.

February’s volume makes it the third-strongest order month since the EPA’07 pre-buy-fueled March 2006 order volume and the fifth-best order month of the millennium.

ACT noted that these numbers are preliminary. Complete industry data for February, including final order numbers, will be published in mid-March.

“Despite falling 17 percent below January’s best-in-12-years order intake, February’s industry order volume still makes it into the pantheon of all-time great months, with both the medium-duty and heavy-duty markets contributing generously to the final order tally,” Vieth said. “On a seasonally adjusted basis, net orders rose 42 percent year-over-year to 63,000 units – also the fifth-best all-time reading.”

After an uninspired rate of order placement in the fourth quarter of 2017, medium duty Classes 5-7 orders have come on strong at the start of 2018.

“In February, Classes 5-7 orders fell 15 percent from January to a still-strong 26,700 units – the second-best month since July 2006 and the third-best month on record,” Vieth said.

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Werner Logistics recognized as Enterprise Business of Year at tech celebration

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Members of the Werner Logistics team include (front row) Rajan Bhattarai, Stacey Richter, Marina Brown, Vajra Anugu, Lavanya Gudimetla, Kim Smith, Padmaja Ravipati and Manoj Eedara; (back row) Andy Damkroger, Ronnie Thomas, Johnny Boykin and O’Brien Chin.  (Courtesy: WERNER ENTERPRISES)

OMAHA, Neb. — Werner Enterprises, a transportation and logistics provider, has been recognized as the Enterprise Business of the Year at the 2019 AIM Tech Celebration.

Werner associate Marina Brown was also named the Tech Champion of the Year.

“Werner Logistics continues to show our ability to differentiate the Werner portfolio with creative and innovative solutions,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Derek Leathers. “It is especially important to acknowledge our talent and culture because without them none of these groundbreaking achievements are possible.”

Leathers said Werner Logistics was named Enterprise Business of the Year for its outstanding application of technology. Other criteria included innovative product/project deployment, groundbreaking ideas or implementations or an outstanding return on technology investment.

The Tech Champion of the Year Award is a special recognition conferred by the Tech Celebration award committee to an individual or group who has contributed their time and talents to AIM and other tech community initiatives to develop tech awareness and skills in others. Brown is an Application Development Manager at Werner.

The AIM Institute, headquartered in Omaha, is an innovative not-for-profit that grows, connects and inspires the tech talent community through career development and educational programs. Through these efforts, the AIM Institute improves thousands of lives across the Silicon Prairie.

Werner Enterprises was founded in 1956.

For more information, visit www.werner.com.

 

 

 

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FTR’s September Shippers Conditions Index Stays in Positive Territory

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September Shippers Condition Index is unchanged over August but forecast indicate upward trend.

Bloomington, Ind.– FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for September remained unchanged from August at a 6.4 reading. All measures included in the SCI were positive with less favorable fuel pricing offsetting more favorable freight volume, capacity utilization, and logistics cost factors.

FTR projects the Shippers Conditions Index to trend towards neutral through 2020 as freight demand softens and capacity utilization firms. The potential impact of a global reduction in the sulfur content of marine fuel due to IMO 2020 remains a wildcard.

Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “Shippers’ place in the freight market remains solidly positive as the year moves into its final quarter. We expect shippers’ position in the marketplace to slowly deteriorate in 2020 as capacity tightens and freight demand recovers.”

The November issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published November 7, 2019, details the factors affecting the September Shippers Conditions Index. Also included in November is an analysis of trucking failures, the total number of carriers operating and the effect on overall capacity.

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.

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ATA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declines 0.3% in October

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ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight, which is performing significantly better than the plunge in spot market freight this year. (The Trucker file photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. —  The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 0.3% in October after rising 1% in September. In October, the index equaled 118.1 (2015=100) compared with 118.5 in September.

“October’s tonnage change, both sequentially and year-over-year, fits with an economic outlook for more moderate growth in the fourth quarter,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The ongoing slowdown in manufacturing activity also weighed on truck tonnage last month.”

It is important to note that ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight, which is performing significantly better than the plunge in spot market freight this year.

September’s reading was revised up compared with our October press release.

Compared with October 2018, the SA index increased 1.7%, the smallest year-over-year gain since June. The index is up 3.9% year-to-date compared with the same period last year.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 125.4 in October, 8.4% above the September level (115.7). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

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