BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Industry forecaster FTR is significantly increasing its outlook for Class 8 and commercial trailer shipments.
It is now pegging North American Class 8 factory shipments for 2018 at 330,000 units, and commercial trailers at 334,400 units. The increase comes on the heels of truck orders averaging 41,500 units a month over the past three months, and trailer orders averaging 46,000 units over the same period.
“There is a capacity crisis occurring as surging freight growth is combining with lower productivity due to ELD implementation,” said Don Ake, vice-president of commercial vehicles with FTR. “Many shippers began having problems finding trucks to move goods as early as September 2017. Conditions continued to tighten and now it is a nationwide issue.”
Barring an economic shock, FTR expects freight growth and equipment demand to continue to be sturdy into 2019, as capacity utilization remains at historically high levels.
“In early 2017, FTR freight models began to give warning signs about a critical capacity environment likely in Q1 2018,” Ake said. “That’s why our forecasts have been so optimistic for 2018 over the past year. When the economy exceeded expectations in the second half of 2017, those forecasts were increased further. And now with the tax reform package, the economy is generating even more freight and orders for trucks and trailers are pouring in.”