Trucking news: FTR says September Class 8 net orders up 21.6 percent over August

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Preliminary data recently released this week by freight transportation forecasting firm and consultancy FTR Associates indicates that September Class 8 truck total net orders for North American OEM’s at 14,872 units are up 21.6 percent over August and 38.8 percent year-over-year.

FTR officials said that net order activity for the six-month period, including September and U.S., Canada, and Mexico exports, equates to 163,100 on an annual basis.

In an interview with LM, FTR President Eric Starks said that while net orders remain below replacement levels, they are heading in the right direction.

“If you look at the last 12 months, we are slightly above the 12 month average,” said Starks, “but it is not substantial. As we get to that time in the next few months where carriers start making decisions on orders for next year, we need to get to that next stage where we see some healthy order activity in the next two months.”

September’s total net orders of 14,872 fell within FTR’s projected range of 10,000-to-15,000 units, according to Starks.

And he added that should orders not hit the 20,000 range in October and more in November, it is reflective of how many fleets are still being parked by carriers until signs of a recovering economy are more apparent and they are more comfortable adding capacity.

As things stand now, trucking capacity remains fairly tight and could get even tighter in the first half of 2011, due to the economy and regulatory issues like CSA and Hours-of-Service.

This data follows a recent report from ACT Research, a provider of data and analysis for trucks and other commercial vehicles, indicates that net orders of heavy-duty Class 8 commercial vehicles were up 15 percent year-over-year in August.

The firm said in its most recent edition of its State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Vehicles that for the three months ended August 31 net orders of Class 8 vehicles came in at 40,033—a 42 percent annual gain.

And a previous ACT release—ACT North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook— called for full-year production of Class 8 vehicles to be up 26 percent—at roughly 150,000 vehicles—over 2009, with solid growth into 2011, too. ACT also said that commercial trailer production will increase by 47 percent this year.

“Based on our modeling and anecdotal evidence from truckers, it seems like the supply-demand imbalance, which has been tilted away from truckers for the last four years, has gone back to truckers…and we don’t see that abating,” said Ken Vieth, ACT partner and senior analyst, in a recent interview.

At current levels, Vieth said truck and trailer production is positioned to ramp up as fast as demand is. And with capacity still tight and current fleets aging in conjunction with a potential stretch of increased truckload earnings there could be some staying power for future truck production, he said.


About the Author

Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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