Class 8 Truck Demand Hits 4-Year Low

Class 8 Truck Demand Hits 4-Year Low

Class 8 truck order numbers have hit a 4-year low, with demand remaining depressed so far in 2016, according to preliminary numbers released by ACT Research and FTR.

“The Class 8 market is stuck in a holding pattern, at the bottom end of this cycle. Fleets are cautious as freight demand has cooled off this year,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “There are enough trucks to handle freight right now with carriers in a wait-and-see mode, before adding trucks or replacing older units.”

FTR projects Class 8 truck orders for the month of 13,000 units. That represents an 8% drop compared to May and a 34% decline compared to last June.

This month's order activity was the lowest monthly total since July 2012 and the worst June since 2009.

“This is what the summer looks like in a market down cycle, so we can expect this level of activity for a couple more months,” said Ake. “We do anticipate higher orders later this year. However, the volume of orders will be determined by the strength of the economy and freight activity at that time.”

Class 5-7 medium-duty vehicle orders also fell in June and are projected to hit 15,200 orders for the month, according to ACT Research. Unlike Class 8, which has struggled to get going in 2016, the drop in medium-duty orders was attributed to the strength of the market in previous months.

“The pull-back of the past two months follows a three-month stretch from February to April in which medium duty orders were booked at a volume well ahead of demand,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT's president and senior analyst.

Related: It's Wait and See for Fleets in 2016

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Large Truckload Fleets See 13% Drop in Turnover

Driver turnover at large truckload fleets fell by a significant amount in the first quarter of 2016, according to American Trucking Associations.

Turnover at large truckload fleets fell by 13% in the first quarter to 89%, hitting the lowest level in nearly a year. In 2015, turnover at large fleets averaged 93% for the entire year.

“While still fairly high, the decline in turnover is reflective of the softening in the freight economy during the first quarter,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “Should the freight economy witness an uptick during the second half of the year, we should see both turnover and demand for drivers rise as well.”

Turnover fell by only 1% at small truckload fleets in the same period of time, dipping to 88%, That was was the lowest decline since the third quarter of 2015. And it is up from last year's averages, which stayed around 79% for all of 2015.

Turnover at less-than-truckload fleet remained much lower than at truckload fleets, falling three points to 8%, the lowest point seen since the second quarter of 2013.

Related: In Search of Drivers

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Diesel drops 0.3 cents this week

After steadily increasing all spring, diesel prices have been steady so far this summer—although they're holding are at the highest level of the year.

The average U.S. retail pump price for diesel slipped 0.3 cents in the July 4 report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), to $2.423 per gallon. The price has changed less than a penny over the past four weeks.

Regionally, only the Rocky Mountain area posted an increase, up seven-tenths of a cent to $2.436.

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Q&A: Cleaning up trucking’s data garbage

Ensuring that data is “clean” is going to be critical to ensure that the “machine learning algorithms” now being increasingly used throughout the trucking industry to manage everything from fuel spend to vehicle lifecycle costs, argues Kurt Thearling, vice president of analytics for WEX Inc.

Fleet Owner recently got a chance to ask Thearling to extrapolate on that and other “machine learning” questions related to motor carrier operations.

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Fairbanks offers Talon series highway scales

Fairbanks Scales offers its Talon Series Highway Vehicle Scales with Intalogix technology.

“Boasting the longest-lasting construction of any steel deck scales in the industry, the Talon is offered in two capacities to meet unique application requirements,” the company said. “The Talon HV design is a durable and dependable design for most applications. For ‘extreme' volume weighing applications, the Talon HVX is designed to withstand these duty-cycles.”

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