While overall economic conditions are better balanced than they were a month ago, freight data remain soft, according to ACT Research’s latest State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Report.
“Slower freight growth, an easing of driver supply constraints, the resumption of the long-run freight productivity trend, and strong Class 8 tractor fleet growth will increasingly pressure rates, and by extension, trucker profits in 2019,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst.
He added, “Regarding Class 8, orders have decelerated sharply over the past several months, with net orders in January reaching 16,089 units, the lowest monthly order intake since October 2016.”
The report indicated that at present the slowdown seems to be more a story of the second-half 2018 order pull-forward and large backlogs and less about freight cycle and capacity issues.
Regarding the medium duty markets, Vieth commented, “January’s Classes 5-7 net orders were a virtual carbon copy of December, at around 23,000 units, and medium duty orders have been a model of consistency the past ten months. However, they are entering a period of tough year-ago comparisons.”
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