July Commentaries


Oil Prices 2020


Oil prices have firmed. But for how long?
By Steve Graham, FTR Partner

Oil prices have recovered in recent weeks despite the slow global economic recovery. This article provides an overview and insights into demand vs sentiment, production cuts, and outlines the long road to normalization.


Chemiicals Tonmiles Outlook 2020


Chemicals Markets Assessment
State of Freight Insights

Chemicals are derived of basic chemicals (organic and inorganic), fertilizers, plastics, coatings, cleaners, and pharmaceuticals. Because of the high degree of internal movements, the analysis of transportation is very complicated.


Transportation Q&A


Key Issues in Transportation Q&A
The FTR Experts

Following our annual Key Issues in Transportation webinar, the FTR Experts took additional time to go through all of the Q&A we received. Read the responses to these questions in this article.

Topics covered in the Q&A:

  • Q1: Trucking & Intermodal
  • Q2: Automotive Market, Rail, & Equipment
  • Q3: Canadian Grain Movements
  • Q4: Trucking, Overcapacity, & Payroll Protection Program
  • Q5: Consumer vs Industrial Products in Intermodal
  • Q6: Rail Carload Volumes
  • Q7: Railcar Utilization
  • Q8: Truck Volumes & Demand Forecasting Methodology
  • Q9: Refrigerated Trucking
  • Q10: Trucking Length of Haul & eCommerce
  • Q11: Dakota Access Pipeline & Rail
  • Q12: Intermodal Competitive Index

Complete the form to the right to download these commentaries.




Conditions Indices & Equipment Orders

FTR’s May Trucking Conditions Index Bounces Back Sharply from April Low But Still Negative

Trucking Conditions Index
FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index reading for April was the lowest ever at -28.66, reflecting the contraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous low was -16.08 in September 2008. The only significant positive factor for the TCI was the cost of fuel; demand, utilization, and rates were extremely negative.

View full article >


FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for May Falls Sharply M/M but Remains Historically High

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for May fell sharply to 24.8 from the extraordinarily high pandemic-impacted 41.3 April reading. While not nearly as positive as April, May’s SCI was still the second highest on record.

All inputs to the measure were weaker in May than April, but all remained positive, especially capacity utilization and rates. From May onward, the SCI should stabilize at a high single-digit positive measure throughout the year. However, a tightening of the trucking spot market in June may foreshadow less robust conditions for shippers in the near term.

View full article >



FTR Reports Final Trailer Orders Rose Significantly in June to 14,400 units

FTR reports final net U.S. trailer orders for June rose significantly to 14,400 units. This was 10,000 units above May and up 9,000 units y/y. Trailer orders rebounded after two sluggish months, with June being the second-highest monthly total this year. Trailer orders for the past twelve months total 164,000.

The June increase was boosted by a recovery in the dry van market, supplemented by decent refrigerated van orders. Flatbed orders remain lethargic. Even though June activity was much improved, there is still too much uncertainty about the pandemic for fleets to have the confidence to order in large quantities. Backlogs continue to fall but are sufficient to support current production in the van segments, while flatbed producers continue to scramble for orders to build in Q4.

View full article >



FTR Reports Preliminary North American Class 8 Net Orders for June Rebound to 15,500 Units

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders rebounded in June to 15,500 units, up 130% from May, as well as, up y/y by 20%. Class 8 net orders for the last twelve months now total 158,000 units.

Fleets’ confidence is improving gradually, as the economy and freight markets recover from the pandemic-related restrictions. The June order volume may not be sustainable in July, however, because some of the larger fleet orders may be difficult to replicate in the short term. Order volume should exceed the 10,000-unit mark throughout the summer as freight volumes continue to improve.

View full article >



Latest Industry News with Intelligence from FTR