FTR announced Monday it is significantly increasing both its Class 8 and commercial trailer forecasts for 2018. The new estimates from FTR peg North American Class 8 truck factory shipments for 2018 at 330,000 units and commercial trailers at 334,400.
FTR says the increase comes as truck orders have averaged 41,500 a month over the last three months and trailers have averaged 46,000 units per month over the same period.
“There is a capacity crisis occurring as surging freight growth is combining with lower productivity due to ELD implementation. 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,” says Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles
“In early 2017, FTR freight models began to give warning signs about a critical capacity environment likely in Q1 2018. That’s why our forecasts have been so optimistic for 2018 over the past year,” he says. “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.”
Barring any economic shock, FTR says it expects freight growth and equipment demand to continue to be sturdy into 2019. While capacitary utilization is forecasted to ease somewhat in late 2018, it will remain at historically high levels, the company states.