According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Report, June’s Class 8 order broke the string of falling order volumes, with the opening of 2020 order books, garnering a 19% rebound. While better orders slowed the rapid backlog decline, the situation is temporary, as coming months represent the seasonally weakest order period of the year, suggesting rapid backlog declines should continue in the near-term.
ACT’s preliminary estimate for June 2019 net trailer orders is 6,200 units. Final volume will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.
ACT Research released the July installment of the ACT Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK covering the truckload, intermodal, LTL and last mile sectors.
According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest release of the North American Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK, current Class 8 build rates may suggest upside to the 2019 forecast, but large new inventories and deteriorating freight and rate conditions suggest erring on the side of caution remains the right call.
Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 13,100 units in June, gaining 20% from May’s three-year low, but down a significant 69% from year-ago June’s very tough comparison. Note that these numbers are preliminary. Complete industry data for June, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-July.
ACT has been involved in the freight sector for decades, but for the past year we have been investing time and energy in developing the ACT's Freight Forecast report. The report analyzes data from around the freight sector, focusing on the links between the equipment manufacturing side of the equation and freight rates. The report is for any transportation stakeholder who needs to understand where rates are heading, when and why. With help from all members of the ACT team, we have built a model that forecasts the future of freight rates using ACT's historical data on truck production, our TL and LTL Carrier databases, as well as key leading indicators developed for this report.
The report addresses the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal sectors of the freight market, all targeted at understanding of future rates. As the report has been developed, we've tested and refined the outputs to provide the best possible information to help businesses make informed decisions. Over the past year we’ve built a freight model using several regression and population models all working together, which drives our contract rate and volume forecasts. For our spot rate forecasts though, we use a separate model based on our Spot Leading Indicator, which was developed over a year ago.
- February 2018 Outlook Report: “Did the spot market just peak? Spot Leading Indicator predicts 25%-30% y/y increases through March/April, down from 31% in February and 32% in January.”
The historical truckload cycle gives insights into the current truckload environment and what to anticipate as we measure demand and supply of the freight market.
The Classic Cycle of the U.S. Truckload Sector
In the release of its Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest, ACT Research noted that the economic picture remains largely unchanged, with growth moderating in 2019 from strong 2018 growth. The economy was already moderating as tailwinds from the end-of-2017 tax cuts diminished, but other caution flags are waving including current trade uncertainties, slowing industrial and auto sectors, tariff-driven inventory building, and an unfolding global economic slowdown. The report provides monthly analysis on transportation trends, equipment markets, and the economy.