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February figures show Class 8 orders continue to surge in 2018

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An FTR official said the Class 8 market remains “red-hot” and that the capacity crunch is transforming into a capacity crisis and many fleets of all sizes, in all markets, across the country are scrambling to add trucks as fast as they can. Pictured is the Volvo VNL 760. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

Orders for Class 8 truck continues to be strong, according to the two companies that analyze sales in the commercial vehicle market.

ACT Research said preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 40,600 units in February.

“Robust Class 8 order placements continued in February,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “For the month, Class 8 orders totaled 40,600 units – the eighth-best order month on record and the ninth time in history in which orders eclipsed the 40,000-unit mark. Seasonal adjustment reduces the month’s order largess to 37,600 units, up 63 percent compared to last February’s order intake.”

FTR reported preliminary North American Class 8 orders for February at 40,200 units.

Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR, said the February volume was much above expectations and exceeded the 40,000 level for the second consecutive month, something that has not happened since November and December 2014.

February order activity was down 15 percent month-over-month but up 76 percent year-over-year.

Fleets are striving to add hauling capacity in response to strong freight growth, Ake said, adding that OEM orders were sturdy across the board for all markets and truck types.

North American Class 8 orders for the past 12 months have now totaled 333,000 units.

“The Class 8 market remains red-hot,” Ake said. “The capacity crunch is transforming into a capacity crisis and many fleets of all sizes in all markets across the country are scrambling to add trucks as fast as they can.  Robust freight growth is the primary driver, and ELD implementation is just exacerbating a tough situation.

“It looks like fleets held back some orders from the fourth quarter to see if freight growth would continue and if ELDs were final.  Now that the environment is more certain, the orders have been pouring in. This upturn looks strikingly similar to 2015, but is now expected to exceed it.  Production is ramping up and should remain vibrant into next year.”

ACT Research said preliminary North America Classes 5-8 net order data show the industry booked 67,700 units in February, making it the third-strongest order month since the EPA’07 pre-buy-fueled March 2006 order volume and the fifth-best order month of the millennium.

February’s volume makes it the third-strongest order month since the EPA’07 pre-buy-fueled March 2006 order volume and the fifth-best order month of the millennium.

ACT noted that these numbers are preliminary. Complete industry data for February, including final order numbers, will be published in mid-March.

“Despite falling 17 percent below January’s best-in-12-years order intake, February’s industry order volume still makes it into the pantheon of all-time great months, with both the medium-duty and heavy-duty markets contributing generously to the final order tally,” Vieth said. “On a seasonally adjusted basis, net orders rose 42 percent year-over-year to 63,000 units – also the fifth-best all-time reading.”

After an uninspired rate of order placement in the fourth quarter of 2017, medium duty Classes 5-7 orders have come on strong at the start of 2018.

“In February, Classes 5-7 orders fell 15 percent from January to a still-strong 26,700 units – the second-best month since July 2006 and the third-best month on record,” Vieth said.

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4 ex-Pilot Flying J workers get probation in fraud plot

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Headquartered in Knoxville, Pilot Flying J has more than 750 retail locations in 44 states, Roadside assistance available at over 135 locations nationwide and growing as part of its Truck Care program, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 34 Boss Shops.(Courtesy: PILOT FLYING J)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.  — Four former account representatives from nation’s largest fuel retailer will serve probation for their roles in a plot to cheat trucking companies.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports ex-Pilot Flying J employees Holly Radford, Lexie Holden, Janet Welch and Ashley Judd were sentenced Wednesday. They admitted to skewing the books to cover up the fraud prosecutors say was committed by their male bosses. Nearly 20 former workers were accused in the $56.5 million scheme.

The judge also ordered Radford, Welch and Judd to do community service. He exempted Holden because she works full-time and runs a business.

Prosecutors say the company lured trucking companies with discounts on fuel, then shortchanged them.

The Knoxville-based company is controlled by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

Jimmy Haslam has long contended he knew nothing about the fraud scheme. Gov. Bill Haslam said he was not active in company affairs.

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ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: volumes up, but supply-demand balance loosens

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The January fleet purchase intentions reading indicated an uptick in equipment demand, with 53.7 percent of respondents planning to buy trucks in the next three months, up from 52.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, in December. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed an improvement in freight volumes and truck productivity in January, after a soft finish to 2018. The Volume Index rose to 52.0 in January from 49.0 in December.

“The recovery in the Volume Index was offset by an increase in the Capacity Index in January, keeping the balance signal to the loose side,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst. “The past three readings have shown the loosest industry supply-demand balance in almost three years, since April 2016.”

The Driver Index was in negative territory, below the neutral 50 mark, at 47.2 in January 2019. “Based on fleet feedback, we added a question about the driver market in January 2018, and after a year, we are now able to start reporting on this metric,” Denoyer said. “The January 2019 reading, as well as the December 2018 reading of 47.0 were up significantly from the 38.6 recorded in January of 2018. The index has been below the neutral 50 level since we started asking the question last year. However, the rise in the index over the past year signals modest easing of ongoing driver constraints.”

The January fleet purchase intentions reading indicated an uptick in equipment demand, with 53.7 percent of respondents planning to buy trucks in the next three months, up from 52.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, in December.

“After record orders last year, this series should remain elevated as long lead-time truck orders are built and hit the highways,” Denover said. “Over the past 12 months, the Buying Index has averaged a strong 57.6% reading.”

ACT is a publisher of new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market.

For more information, visits www.actresearch.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dexFreight initiates early adopters program

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By joining the Early Adopters Program, companies will have exclusive access to early release versions of the dexFreight platform. (Courtesy: DEXFREIGHT)

SUNRISE, Fla. — dexFreight, providers of a decentralized, blockchain-based logistics platform, has launched the dexFreight Early Adopters Program for U.S. shippers, carriers, brokers, and forwarders.

“The dexFreight platform built on blockchain technology allows supply chain stakeholders to transact and collaborate more efficiently, transparently and securely,” said Rajat Rajbhandari, CEO and co-founder of dexFreight. “Through our Early Adopters Program, we will be using the real-world expertise of logistics stakeholders to evaluate new and advanced features of our platform that will be launched in the near future. We don’t want to develop in a vacuum, and we believe the dialogue with and feedback from early adopters is vital in creating a platform that helps the entire logistics community.”

The dexFreight Early Adopters Program is open to U.S.-based companies. By joining the Early Adopters Program, companies will have exclusive access to early release versions of the dexFreight platform. As members of the Early Adopters community, they will have the opportunity to interact with dexFreight’s development and product teams.

Early Adopters Program participants will have free access to the platform’s basic features for three months and to advanced features at no charge when they first become available, and then at a discounted rate, Rajbhandari said. They will receive early notifications about new features before they are offered to all platform users.

Basic features of the dexFreight platform include TMS/FMS integration, load and capacity matching, safety data, rate negotiation, accessorial selection, P&D scheduling, shipment tracking, navigation and communication, and payments built on blockchain technology from the ground up.

Plans for the platform include escrow services, tokenized invoices, rate forecasting, on demand warehouse, load chaining, fleet optimization, bid preparation and risk prediction features, as well as third party apps.

In October 2018, dexFreight completed its first blockchain-based shipment using smart contracts. The platform, an ecosystem of open source protocols, blockchain and machine learning technologies, allowed the shipper and carrier to directly connect, negotiate rates, and schedule pickup and delivery.

For more information, visit www.dexfreight.io.

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