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FTR, ACT Research report Class 8 orders in October at 22,100 units

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Class 8 orders were the star of October, rising to an 11-month high, according to ACT Research President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth. (Courtesy: DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

The two companies that track and analyze the large truck market both reported North American Class 8 October orders at 22,100 units.

FTR said the order level was the highest since November of 2018, but still far below a year ago.  October 2019 order activity was the weakest performance for an October since 2016.

FTR said that while October orders were the highest this year and up 79% month over month, they were 51% lower than October 2018, signifying a subdued beginning to the traditional start of the ordering season.

FTR said the order level was boosted by a couple of big fleets placing large orders into 2020, but otherwise smaller orders were placed for the first quarter build.  Cancellations are expected to remain elevated as OEM’s shake out excess 2019 orders from the backlog. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have totaled 192,000 units.

“Orders increased in October as expected, however, caution prevails,” said Don Ake, vice president commercial vehicles. “The trade and political turmoil are producing a highly uncertain business environment. Fleets are only ordering for their immediate needs. They are not willing to speculate much beyond the first quarter of next year. The OEMs have plenty of open capacity right now, so carriers are willing to approach 2020 a step at a time.”

Ake said orders were fair in October.

“Freight growth is flat, as the industrial sector slows and manufacturing struggles a bit. Orders are expected to stay in this range for a few months until there is more confidence in the economy and less turbulence in the trade war and political arena,” he said.

Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analysts, noted that the industry kicked off  “order season” in an encouraging fashion with preliminary order rising to a six-month high in October.

“Class 8 orders were the star of October, rising to an 11-month high,” he said. “While freight market conditions remain weak, the market is arguably benefiting from a substantive change in the “must-have” tractor spec.”

Regarding the medium duty market, Vieth said the fade that started in medium-duty orders during the summer lingered into the start of quarter four and if the preliminary order read stands as printed, October will represent a 40-month order low.

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The Truck Boss Show – Liability Insurance Insight

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Truck Boss team talks about how truckers are giving for the holidays, cargo theft statistics, liability insurance changes and teams up with the guys of Speed Garage for a cab replacement.

Courtesy: The Truck Boss Show 

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Dart Transit names Dave Ables as new president & CEO

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Dave Ables brings 25 years of transportation experience to his new position at Dart, serving in executive leadership positions for the past six years with truckload carrier PAM Transport. Prior to his appointment with Dart, Ables was vice president of operations & marketing for all 13 operating divisions at PAM Transport. (Courtesy: DART TRANSIT CO.)

EAGAN, Minn. — Dart Transit Co., in its 85th year as a nationwide transportation service provider, has appointment of Dave Ables as the company’s new president and CEO. Chosen through an extensive national search process that was overseen by Dart Chairman Donald G. Oren, Ables will be responsible for directing the day-to-day operations of Dart. He will lead Dart’s management team, and report directly to Oren, who will continue his daily involvement in the overall operation of the company that the Oren family has owned since its founding in 1934.

Ables brings 25 years of transportation experience to his new position at Dart, serving in executive leadership positions for the past six years with truckload carrier PAM Transport. Prior to his appointment with Dart, Ables was vice president of operations & marketing for all 13 operating divisions at PAM Transport.

“We focused our search on finding an executive leader with the right depth and breadth of experience within all of Dart’s markets and facets,” Oren said. “In Dave Ables, we found the right person who possesses the full range of skills and values needed to continue to move our organization forward. Over his career in transportation, Dave has established an impressive track record of success, and I am confident that Dave will bring valuable insights and innovative approaches that will benefit our entire organization and all our customers. In reviewing his experience and during the interview process, we were particularly impressed with the leadership Dave has exhibited within the truckload market, and his ability to work well with employees, owner-operators, customers and the community alike. In our view, he has the right mix of experience working with all aspects of operations, customer service and sales, and he will be a high-quality leader for Dart.”

In addition to his time with PAM, Ables held truckload leadership positions with other major carriers including Barr-Nunn, CRST and Stevens Transport. Oren and the Dart management team also took note of Ables’ prior experience in other key areas of business currently offered through the Dart Network. In serving as the Retail Supply Chain Practice Leader for Ohio’s Global Executive Solutions, Ables oversaw strategic sourcing, global purchasing, network optimization and a variety of logistics functions. Outside of trucking, Ables has been the managing member of his family-owned hardware store as well as other small businesses.

“Dave’s expertise in logistics and supply chain solutions, along with his experience as a business owner and entrepreneur, will serve him well as the president and CEO of our company,” Oren said  “Between his wide range of career experience and the insights he shared with us, we found that Dave is an ideal fit for Dart and its variety of services, including logistics and intermodal services.

“My wife Bev and I, along with our children, David, Daniel, Bradley and Angela, are very proud of what we’ve built together at Dart, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring Dave Ables in to be Dart Transit’s president and CEO and next successful leader,”  Oren said. “We are looking forward to working with Dave in the years ahead as our entire organization stays focused on being the best service provider in the business for drivers, owner-operators, employees, technicians and customers alike.”

Ables and his wife, Lori, both have family ties to the Midwest, growing up in Iowa where Ables attended the University of Northern Iowa. They are the parents of three sons, David, Samuel and Nicholas.

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FTR, ACT Research report disappointing November Class 8 order results

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Tim Denoyer, ACT’s vice president and senior analyst, said the freight market downturn worsened in the past month and uncertainty surrounding trade and tariffs continue to weigh on truck buyers’ psyches. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

The two companies known for their collection and analysis of trucking industry information reported a drop in Class 8 orders.

FTR reported preliminary North American Class 8 orders for November at a “disappointing 17,300 units, down 21% from October.” It was the lowest November total since 2015 and was 39% lower than the same month a year ago, FTR said.

ACT Research noted that North American Class 8 orders failed to sustain momentum created in October.

ACT Research Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 17,500 units in November, down 20% from October,

FTR said fleets remained extremely cautious heading into 2020, placing small orders and not extending orders much beyond the first quarter.  A couple OEMs reported decent order activity, but total orders fell below expectations. Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 180,000 units.

“The fall order season has gotten off to a slow start. Freight growth has stalled from the high rates of last year,” said Don Ake, vice president commercial vehicles. “This is causing fleets to be much more measured in their ordering for 2020. There still will be plenty of freight to haul, so we expect fleets will continue to be profitable and to replace older equipment. However, there won’t be a need for much additional equipment on the roads.”

Ake said there was still a great deal of uncertainty in the environment which is creating apprehension in the trucking industry. Manufacturing has receded for four straight months, slowing economic growth. The trade war and tariffs are destabilizing prices and supply chains. And the tumultuous political climate just adds to an uneasy mix. The industry thrives on stability, but we are now on a rocky road.”

Tim Denoyer, ACT’s vice president and senior analyst, said the freight market downturn worsened in the past month and uncertainty surrounding trade and tariffs continue to weigh on truck buyers’ psyches.

“With rising pressure on carrier profits from the combined impact of lower rates and the recent, rather sudden jump in insurance premia, recent events have not developed in the industry’s favor,” Denoyer said. “While private fleets continue to add capacity on the retail end, the market is increasingly heeding for-hire price signals and the stage is being set to right-size the fleet, bringing it closer to equilibrium with the work to be done.”

For more information on FTR, visit www.ftrintel.com.

For more information on ACT Research visit www.actresearch.net.

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