Indicators: Fleets ‘on solid ground’; freight gets post-storm boost

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Updated Feb 4, 2016

CCJ’s Indicators rounds up the latest reports on trucking business indicators on rates, freight, equipment, the economy and more.

truck-at-dockSurvey says…fleets bullish on 2016: The 48 trucking fleets that participated in the quarterly Fleet Sentiment Survey conducted last month indicated they see good demand for trucking services and high levels of equipment utilization. More than 50 percent, however, said they need more drivers to fill empty seats or to grow. Fewer fleets were planning to purchase power units in 2016 than in the January 2015 survey, but more indicated they plan to buy trailers.

spotmarket130Freight demand spikes following winter storm: Loads on the spot market grew by 10 percent in the week ending January 30, according to loadboard DAT Solutions, stemming from “pent-up demand” following the major winter storm that impacted much of the country in late January. Rates, however, did not follow suit, with van remaining flat and reefer and flatbed both seeing decreases of a penny. The load to truck ratio, however, did swing favorably for carriers in all three major truckload segments, with Van posting a 16 percent increase, flatbed a 13 percent increase and reefer an 8.8 percent increase.

truckPrelim data shows truck orders continue to sag: Class 8 net orders dipped in January to just 18,062, according to preliminary data reported this week by FTR. That’s a 35 percent drop from December and a 45 percent drop from last January. FTR says truck orders have been “unusually volatile” in recent months, falling sharply in October and November, ticking upwards in December and then slipping again in January. FTR’s Jonathan Starks, however, says steady freight demand should help keep truck orders stable throughout 2016, if not push them upwards in the coming months.