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ACT outlook predicts Class 8 production to continue growth trend into 2019

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COLUMBUS, Ind. — According to the recently released N.A. Commercial Vehicle On-Highway Engine Outlook published by ACT Research and Rhein Associates, Class 8 production is expected to continue its growth trend into 2019, but changes in demand for straight trucks and tractors will impact the type of diesel engines ordered.

“Tractors represented 73 percent of total Class 8 production in 2018, but are forecast to fall to 68 percent by 2021, with straight trucks expected to grow to 32 percent,” said Tom Rhein, president of Rhein Associates. “Simultaneously, the trend to smaller displacement engines in Class 8 will continue through the forecast period, with 12-14L engines exceeding the 14L category for the first time in 2019.” Regarding Classes 5-7, Rhein said, “The V8/10 engine configuration is predominant in the Class 5 segment, where gasoline penetration is increasing. In Classes 6-7 trucks, 6-cylinder diesel engines remain the predominant engine configuration.”

“Diesel power is under attack long-term for use in on-highway commercial vehicles. Alternative power is being developed, tested, and refined, while diesel engines are also undergoing transition to become more fuel efficient and clean.” said Ken Vieth, general manager of ACT Research. “Emission regulations are one of the main drivers of alternative fuel adoption, which is why the Engine Outlook includes a section on the commercial vehicle regulatory environment. It is vital for industry participants to stay up-to-date on developments like the recent EPA update to the NOx emission standards for heavy-duty engines and funding awarded under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA).”

The latest NA On-Highway Engine Outlook published by ACT Research and Rhein Associates highlights this alt fuel activity for CV GVWs 5-8, including five-year forecasts of engines volumes and product trends. The Engine Outlook ties to the detailed North American commercial vehicle forecasts published monthly by ACT.

For more information, visit www.actresearach.net.

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Daseke names Chris Easter as chief operating officer

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Chris Easter brings more than 30 years of operational leadership experience to Daseke. (Courtesy: DASEKE)

ADDISON, Texas — Daseke, a flatbed and specialized transportation and logistics provider in North America, has named Chris Easter as the company’s chief operating officer.

Easter brings Daseke more than 30 years of operational leadership serving in key transportation and logistics roles with the United States Army, Walmart and Schneider National.

For the past six years, he served as CEO of Keen Transport, a specialized transportation, warehouse, and logistics company focused on serving the industrial equipment market.

During more than a decade with Walmart, he was responsible for overseeing the transportation of goods from around the world.

Easter graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point; he then served in the U.S. Army, where he was a leader in heavy machinery logistics.

Easter was awarded the Bronze Star during Operation Desert Storm.

Believing in giving back to the industry, he serves the industry on the Board of Directors for the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA).

As COO, Easter will be responsible for overseeing the industry-leading scale that Daseke has built over the last decade-plus, according to Don Daseke, chairman and CEO.

His efforts will be geared towards driving organic revenue growth, expanding EBITDA margins and maximizing free cash flow, Daseke said.

“Chris Easter’s in-depth knowledge of flatbed and specialized transportation, broad background in large- scale logistics, and proven ability to build and lead teams gives me great confidence in the bright future for both Chris and Daseke,” Daseke said “He has gained my respect, as we have built our relationship over the past several years. Daseke has the deepest management talent bench in flatbed and specialized transportation. Chris is the right person to lead our operations and develop our people’s talent as we fully leverage the scale we have built.”

“I’ve watched Don and the Daseke team build an exceptional organization focused on flatbed and specialized transportation and logistics, to where Daseke is uniquely positioned and respected in the marketplace,” Easter said. “I am excited to work with the entire team to enhance our growth while continuing to deliver superior customer service.”  8

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Cass Index: Despite December declines, transportation shows strong economy

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With all of 2018 in the record books, it is clear that 2018 was an extraordinarily strong year for transportation and the economy, Cass Information Systems said in its December report. ©2019 Fotosearch

ST. LOUIS — December was a month of growing uncertainty and severe declines in the U.S. financial markets as equity valuations fell (the Dow Jones fell from 25,826 on December 3 to as low as 21,792 on December 24), most commodity prices continued to be weak (oil, copper, lumber, etc.), and interest rates declined (after peaking at 3.24 percent on November 8, the 10-year Treasury yield fell from 3.01 percent on November 30 to 2.56 percent on January 3).

Large multi-national companies lowered guidance and blamed slowing rates of activity in Europe and — to a lesser extent — Asia. Trade talks with China continued without resolution, and indications that the Chinese economy is beginning to suffer began to leak out.

But despite all the “hand-wringing” on Wall Street, the transportation economy continues to signal economic expansion, according to the December Cass Information Systems Freight Index Report prepared by Donald Broughton, founder and managing partner of Broughton Capital, a deep data-driven quantimental economic and equity research firm.

“The uninfluenced-by-human-emotion hard data of physical goods flow confirms that people are still making things, shipping things and buying/consuming things, perhaps not at the scorching pace attained earlier this year, but still at an above-average pace,” Broughton wrote.

The report said industry stakeholders were not yet alarmed about the volume of shipments going negative for the first time in 24 months (-0.8 percent in the month of December), in part because December 2017 was an all-time high for the month, and in part because of the stabilizing patterns seen in almost all of the underlying freight flows.

“However, we would be negligent if we did not acknowledge as we did in last month’s report two storm clouds on the economic horizon,” Broughton said.

Those are:

  • The tariffs and threats of even higher tariffs with China, the world’s second-largest economy (even though the latest headlines and tweets suggest that there may be a resolution). Tariffs have throttled volumes in some areas of the U.S. economy, most notably agriculture exports and other select raw materials.
  • The decline in WTI crude in December to as low as $42.50 a barrel. “This did not fall below the marginal cost of production for fracked crude in almost all areas of the U.S., but it made it less profitable and significantly lowered the incentive to drill ever more holes, effectively slowing the rate of growth in the industrial economy,” Broughton said, noting that crude’s recent rally (above $52 in mid-January) gives transportation a momentary sigh of relief. “Continued strength in the price of crude makes us more confident in our positive outlook for the U.S. industrial economy and less worried about global demand,” Broughton said.

“With all of 2018 ‘in the record books,’ it is clear that 2018 was an extraordinarily strong year for transportation and the economy,” Broughton said. “Every month from March to October exceeded all levels attained in all months in 2014 (a very strong year), while February was roughly equal to the peak month in 2014 (June 2014 – 1.201 vs February 2018 – 1.198), which is extraordinary.”

The Cass Expenditures Index is signaling continued overall pricing power for those in the marketplace who move freight.

Demand is exceeding capacity in most modes of transportation by a material amount. In turn, pricing power has erupted in those modes to levels that spark overall inflationary concerns in the broader economy.

With the Expenditures Index up 10.0 percent in December, Broughton said, Cass understood the concerns about inflation, but are comforted by four factors:

  1. Almost all modes of transportation are using the current environment of pricing power to create capacity, which will first dampen and eventually kill pricing power
  2. Spot pricing (not including fuel surcharges) in all three modes of truckload freight (dry van, reefer, and flatbed) has already been falling for six months
  3. The cost of fuel (and resulting fuel surcharges) is included in the Expenditures Index, and the cost of diesel was up 6.6 percent in December (but has been steadily falling in recent weeks, suggesting lower fuel surcharges in coming weeks), and
  4. Whether driven by capacity addition/creation or lower fuel surcharges — or a combination of both (our best guess) — the Expenditures Index was sequentially declining, before sequentially improving slightly (up 1.9 percent in December). The November Index was already down 4.9 percent from its peak in September, and down 2.4 percent from October.

To view the full report, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

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ACT Research: CV build strong in 2018, economic risks in sight

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Heavy-duty build rose 4,500 units above the OEMs plan for December. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS)

COLUMBUS, Ind. – The desire to get Class 8 trucks built and out the door for 2018 taxation benefits drove a build plan beat in December, according to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Report.

“Heavy-duty build rose 4,500 units above the plan in December, and we assume the surge was largely overtime based,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research president and senior analyst. “Indicative of current market strength, cancellations, which had been elevated, dropped to a five-month low.”

The report also noted that macro-economic indicators are flashing yellow, with concerns ranging from tariffs and trade wars to a global economic slowdown and falling commodity prices, as well as a flat yield curve, quantitative tightening, and sharply lower equity valuations.

OEMs experienced their best month of 2918 in December when the sale of 26,083 Class 8 trucks pushed the 2018 total to 250,627 units, an increase of 30.4 percent over 2017 when 192,243 units were sold, according to data provided by WardsAuto.

Regarding the medium duty markets, Vieth commented, “An in-line build rate allowed the medium duty backlog to end the year at a 12-plus year high, with benign cancellations. Unlike the heavy-duty segment, however, medium duty inventories remain elevated.”

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies.

More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

 

 

 

 

 

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