September Commentaries


Maritime Piracy


Maritime Piracy: It’s a good life Out at Sea
By Steve Graham, FTR Partner

In a world of a pandemic and not so good economics, it might be time for a small break from the usual topics and take a cruise on the wide and wild seas. Amid the pandemic, the Jolly Roger flies high.


Industrial Production of Lumber & Wood


Industry Assessment - Lumber
State of Freight Insights

About two-thirds of the lumber produced is used in construction. Chipboard, particle board, oriented strand board, fiberboard, and other high-tech products have claimed a larger and larger share of the market over the last 40 years.


Assessing Trucking's Recovery


Assessing Trucking’s Recovery Q&A
The FTR Experts

Following Assessing Trucking’s Recovery, the second session of the FTR Engage virtual speaking series, we sat down with the FTR Experts to answer listener questions beyond what was covered during the Q&A within the presentation.

Topics covered in the Q&A:

  • Q1: Capacity on the Supply Side
  • Q2: Capacity & Drivers
  • Q3: Supply-Demand Environment into 2021
  • Q4: Remaining Volatility From COVID-19
  • Q5: Risks From Another Shutdown
  • Q6: Long-Term Effects of Disruptions
  • Q7: Rebound in Truck & Trailer Orders
  • Q8: Capacity Issues in the Near Term Peak Season
  • Q9: Truck Capacity’s Effect on Railroad Market Share
  • Q10: Does Rail Bypass Short Term Recovery Surging?
  • Q11: Consolidation Concerns Q12: Emerging Trends

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Conditions Indices & Equipment Orders

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for July Remained Positive Due to Stronger Freight Rates

Trucking Conditions Index
FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for July at 2.84 was down from the previous month’s 11.35 reading, but trucking conditions remain favorable for carriers as the recovery continues. Carriers took advantage of stronger freight rates while the freight demand and capacity utilization that set the stage for those rates settled somewhat during the month. FTR expects the TCI to stay in positive territory through the balance of the year and into 2021.

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FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index for July Falls to Negative Territory

The FTR Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) fell into negative territory for the first time since August 2018. After a huge positive spike as COVID-19 impacted freight movement, the SCI now reflects a continued weakening of shippers’ market conditions. Freight volume and utilization were actually more favorable to shippers in July, but the rate environment swung from significantly positive in June to a significantly negative reading in July.


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FTR Reports Preliminary U.S. Net Trailer Orders for August Provide Positive Momentum

FTR reports that preliminary U.S. net trailer orders for August jumped 49% m/m to 28,700 units, the strongest activity since last October. August orders were 174% above the same month during the previous year, with trailer orders for the last twelve months now totaling 191,000 units.

Dry van orders were particularly robust, with refrigerated vans also displaying strength. Flatbed orders improved from July but remain sluggish, as industrial freight continues to lag consumer freight. Backlogs are expected to rise to near pre-pandemic levels.

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FTR Reports Preliminary North American Class 8 Net Orders for August Continue to Climb

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders continued to climb in August, reaching 20,500 units for the month. August order activity was very consistent with July, up 3% m/m, and up 90% y/y. Class 8 net orders for the last 12 months now total 177,000 units.

Large fleets continue to buy new trucks according to their replacement cycles, with a few orders going towards expansion purposes. Orders are expected to stay in the 20,000 range for the next few months with buyer confidence increasing as the economy recovers and freight volumes rise. There is less uncertainty regarding the pandemic as businesses and consumers adapt to the current environment.

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Latest Industry News with Intelligence from FTR