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November U.S. Trailer orders up 101% year-over-year



COLUMBUS, Ind. — U.S. trailer order volume slid sequentially for the second month in a row, but it’s all relative when one considers that more than 45,000 net orders were posted in November, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report. The report explains that November was the fifth highest net order month in industry history, following September’s all-time record and October’s second-best in history.

“Seasonals call for a small sequential net order gain to close the year, but several factors make that a challenge,” said Frank Maly, director–CV transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. “With the last three months all ranking in the top five all-time, how likely are fleets to continue to increase commitments that currently stretch into fall 2019? Several factors, including softening freight rates, some interest-rate driven uncertainty, and the continuing potential of tariff wars, cloud the economic horizon.”

Maly said it was important to remember that year-to-date volume already ranks 2018 as the highest net order year in history, with one month remaining.

“The orderboard is just above twice the level of this point last year, and eight of ten trailer categories are in the black year-over-year with dry vans, reefers, heavy lowbeds, and liquid tanks all posting triple-digit percentage improvement.”

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.

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Carrier gifts trailer refrigeration unit to Central Pennsylvania Food Bank



Carrier Transicold recently gave the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank an X4 Series trailer refrigeration unit through its program to help food banks in the Feeding America network. Shown are Ray Swank, transportation manager for the food bank; Tim Shustack territory manager for the dealership that installed the unit, Carrier Transicold of Pennsylvania; Joe Arthur, executive director of the food bank; Wayne Souder, dealer branch manager; and Beth Hamilton, director of food sourcing and logistics for the food bank. (Courtesy: CARRIER TRANSICOLD)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The gift of an X4 Series Model 7300 trailer refrigeration unit from Carrier Transicold is helping the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank fulfill its vision that “No One Should Be Hungry” in the 27-county region it serves.

The unit, which refrigerates fruits, vegetables and other food products during transport, was provided through a grant from Carrier Transicold and its parent company, United Technologies Corp., to aid food banks in the Feeding America network. Carrier Transicold is a part of Carrier, a leading global provider of innovative heating, ventilating and air conditioning, refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies.

“This grant from Carrier Transicold enables the food bank to enhance the flow of refrigerated and frozen foods to our partner agencies,” said Joe Arthur, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “This investment in our transportation aligns perfectly with our strategies to provide better access to better food for our neighbors in need throughout Central Pennsylvania.”

The refrigeration unit was installed on a 53-foot trailer by Carrier Transicold of Pennsylvania, affiliate of Penn Power Group, in Harrisburg.

“Our team was very proud to be able to help the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank through this program,” said Tim Shustack, territory manager, Carrier Transicold of Pennsylvania. “The food bank does a tremendous amount of good serving individuals and families throughout a vast portion of the state, and it’s terrific that this unit can help them deliver more food, more cost effectively.”

Working with a network of more than 1,000 partner agencies and programs, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank provides meals to more than 135,000 people each month.

Since 2017, the Carrier Transicold program supporting Feeding America has gifted $450,000 worth of truck and trailer refrigeration units, including installation, to various food banks. Beyond the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, the program is helping food banks serving parts of Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Utah.

“Carrier’s cold chain technologies help to preserve, protect and deliver nutritious perishable food throughout the global community, including in emerging countries where the demand is great,” said Jon Shaw, director, sustainability, Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems. “However, there are critical needs here in the U.S., and by supporting Feeding America and its network members, we have an opportunity to help transport food to those most in need.”

For more information, visit Follow Carrier on Twitter: @SmartColdChain.  8



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September BTS freight services index declines 2.5% after all-time high in August



The graph from the Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics show that from September 2018 to September 2019, the index fell 0.1% compared to a rise of 7.2% from September 2017 to September 2018.  (Courtesy: BTS)

WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, fell 2.5% in September after reaching after reaching a new all-time high in August, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS).

From September 2018 to September 2019, the index fell 0.1% compared to a rise of 7.2% from September 2017 to September 2018, the BTS said.

The level of for-hire freight shipments in September measured by the Freight TSI (136.6) was 2.5% below the all-time high level of 140.1 in August 2019. BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.

The August index was revised to 140.1 from 140.6 in last month’s release, but still remains an all-time high.  Monthly numbers for January through July were revised up slightly.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. The TSI is seasonally-adjusted to remove regular seasons from month-to-month comparisons.

The Freight TSI September decrease was broad based, driven by significant declines in water, rail carloads, trucking, pipeline and air freight, while rail intermodal increased modestly. The TSI decline took place against a background of decline in other indicators.

The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production Index declined 0.4% in September reflecting decreases in mining and manufacturing and an increase in utilities. Housing starts, which are important to the trucking industry because trucks transport most of goods used to build homes, declined by 9.4%. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing index decreased 1.3 points to 47.8, indicating contraction in manufacturing

The September decline from the record high in August, was the largest one month Freight TSI decline since January 2012, and left the index at its lowest level since February 2019. However, it remained above any level it had reached before the high of September 2018 and in all but three months prior to January 2019. In effect, the Freight TSI rose 14% from 120 in March 2016 to a level of 136.8 in September 2018 but has been essentially stable (declining by 0.1 %) since then.

The 0.9% decrease in the third quarter of 2019, following two quarters of growth, and a quarter of decline in the fourth quarter of 2018. It was only the third quarterly decline since the second quarter of 2015, but it was the largest quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2015. The index has increased in 10 of 12 quarters since the fourth quarter of 2016. The September index was 44.1% above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession. For additional historical data, go to TSI data.

Year-to-date for-hire freight shipments measured by the index were up 0.4% in September compared to the end of 2018.

As for the long-term trend, for-hire freight shipments are up 12.3% in the five years from September 2014 and are up 37.1% in the 10 years from September 2009.  8

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ACT Research: Anticipate accelerating pullback in HD truck build rates



ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam said despite a high-side production surprise in September, large new inventories and deteriorating freight and rate conditions keep analysts cautious into the end of 2019. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The heavy duty truck market should anticipate an accelerating pullback in build rates, ACT Research said Tuesday, and just how much could depend on two factors: the trade war with China and the U.S. consumer.

The latest release of the ACT North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook shows freight market conditions remaining at a low ebb.

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and one of our favorites is an overlay of the 12-month moving average of Class 8 net orders and actual production data,” said Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president. “As 20 years of history show, where the order trend goes, build follows, and positively, a turn in the 12-month moving order average can be seen as starting in December, meaning Class 8 orders in 2020 should handily outperform 2019.”

Tam said on the downside, ACT was noting that every trough in the order average in the past 20 years has been met with a corresponding drop in builds.”

“Despite a high-side production surprise in September, large new inventories and deteriorating freight and rate conditions keep us cautious into the end of 2019,” he said.

There is always a risk in forecasting the truck market and the U.S. economy broadly, in either direction, that risk remains the trade war with China, Tam said.

With U.S. manufacturers and farmers struggling to compete on the tilted global playing field, the key driver of growth in the mid-term outlook is the U.S. consumer, who remains well positioned to keep the economy out of the ditch, Tam said.

“With around 80% of North America’s Class 8 market and about 90% of the Classes 5-7 and trailer markets beholden to the U.S. economy, it is little wonder that ACT’s forecasts focus heavily on the North American, and primarily the U.S., economy,” Tam said. “We are seeing weaker-than-expected activity in the economies of Canada and Mexico and our US growth expectations, at 2.2%, are now below start-of-the-year levels. Looking to 2020, GDP growth in all three North American economies is anticipated to fall below 2%, with the US and Canada at 1.7% and Mexico rebounding to 1.4%.”

Regarding the trade war and risk of a recession, Tam said if President Donald J. Trump doubles down from this point, a greater global downturn could ensue, with the worst outcomes spreading beyond the impact of tariffs and into a global currency war.

“If Schedule D tariffs are put in place in December, the likelihood of recession rises,” he said.

ACT’s North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook is a report that forecasts the future of the industry, looking at the next one to five, with the objective of giving OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, and investment firms the information needed to plan accordingly for what is to come. The report provides a complete overview of the North American markets, as well as takes a deep dive into relevant, current market activity to highlight orders, production, and backlogs, shedding light on the forecast.

Information included in this report covers forecasts and current market conditions for medium and heavy-duty trucks, tractors, and trailers, the macroeconomies of the US, Canada, and Mexico, publicly-traded carrier information, oil and fuel price impacts, freight and intermodal considerations and regulatory environment impacts.

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

More information can be found at

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