FTR data shows that preliminary Class 8 net orders for August stood at 14,000 units, slightly above expectations and a 36 percent improvement over July. However, the Class 8 order activity for August was the weakest for that month since 2010 and down 35 percent from August 2015. Class 8 orders for the last twelve months have totaled 206,000 units.
FTR's Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May, at -3.1, reflects the current manageable capacity utilization, which is expected to remain in place through 2015. As a result of improved capacity and low fuel prices, shippers are getting a welcome respite from rate increases. This environment should be maintained throughout the year. However, conditions affecting shippers will deteriorate in 2016 as the pressure from expected new regulations will put a significant drag on capacity.
FTR reports February 2015 U.S. trailer net orders were 20,400 units, 26 percent below January figures and - 32 percent Y/Y. The trailer market continues to moderate after record setting orders in 2014Q4. Backlogs fell for the first time in six months. Trailer orders have exceeded 347,000 for the past 12 months.
FTR has released preliminary data showing November 2014 North American Class 8 truck net orders at 40,560 units indicating an extremely strong truck market. This is the second consecutive month above the 40,000 level. November order activity, similar to the previous month, was concentrated at a few OEMs with the remainder falling short of October order input. Class 8 orders have totaled an impressive 363,000 in the last 12-month period.
FTR's Shippers Conditions Index for September, at a reading of -6.6, is basically unchanged from the previous month reflecting continued capacity shortages that degrade service and push rates higher. With sustained capacity tightness and fleets now announcing pay increases, the cost to ship goods is expected to remain elevated. The typical slowdown in freight tonnage during the winter months will only offer a minor and short term reprieve with the Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) expected to remain in the current range for the foreseeable future.