BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s March Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) rose two full points from February to a reading of 2.8 reflecting a continued easing of truckload and intermodal rates. The outlook is for improved shipper conditions through 2019.
However, some key areas to watch are fuel price increases and capacity utilization in trucking which can result in added costs for shippers, according to Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR.
“Shippers are benefiting from relatively stable fuel prices and weaker trucking capacity utilization than they experienced in 2018. But both of those metrics are expected to tighten up as the year progresses,” Tranausky said. “Diesel prices could move up in the fourth quarter ahead of the IMO 2020 fuel mandate, which could pressure fuel surcharges higher late in 2019.”
The May issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published May 8, 2019, details the factors affecting the March Shippers Conditions Index. Also included is data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.
The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market. These conditions include freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence the shippers’ freight transport environment. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. A negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem…and readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment. Double digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.
T.J. O’Connor named chief operating officer of YRC Worldwide
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — YRC Worldwide has promoted T.J. O’Connor to chief operating officer effective immediately. O’Connor will report to YRC Worldwide Chief Executive Officer Darren Hawkins and will continue to serve as president of YRC Freight.
“T.J. has a strong track record of delivering operational results throughout his career at Roadway Express, Reddaway and YRC Freight,” Hawkins said. “With our network optimization initiative, combined with the recently ratified five-year labor agreement that offers new operational flexibilities, this is the time to bring T.J. into the role of COO. His new position will help us drive performance objectives through enterprise-wide process improvement and accountability initiatives at all of our coast-to-coast terminal locations.”
“This is a great opportunity to lead our terminal-based field teams as we collectively focus on service improvements and achieving operational efficiencies while operating with the highest degree of safety,” O’Connor said. “Throughout my three-and-a-half-decade career in the less-than-truckload industry, I have worked closely with many of our field employees. I’ve seen their dedication and commitment firsthand. I look forward to working with the Holland, New Penn, Reddaway and YRC Freight teams in this new role.”
The YRC Worldwide COO position recently held by Darren Hawkins has been vacant since Hawkins was named CEO of YRC Worldwide in April 2018. As referenced during the YRC Worldwide May 8, 2019, first quarter earnings call, Scott Ware was named chief network officer of YRC Worldwide. Ware leads the YRC Worldwide network solutions, linehaul and property teams.
T.J. O’Connor has over three-and-a-half decades of experience in the transportation industry. His career in transportation began at Roadway Express. O’Connor assumed positions of increasing responsibility at Roadway Express, ultimately being named Western Division vice president. O’Connor went on to be named president of Bestway Express and then president of Reddaway. He became president of YRC Freight in January 2018.
O’Connor supports advancements in the transportation industry by serving on the board of directors of SMC3, a provider of data, technology and education as an integrated solution to the freight transportation community. He also provides leadership via community service. He has served as a member of The Robert W. Franz Leadership Cabinet of the Providence Cancer Center, a world-recognized organization engaged in the fight against cancer. O’Connor has served in various committee leadership roles for the California Trucking Association, Oregon Trucking Associations and the American Trucking Associations.
May Class 8 truck sales total 24,424, a 1.7% gain over April
There were ups and oops when Wards Intelligence released data on the sale of new Class 8 trucks in May.
On the up side, 2019 marked the first time since the boom year of 2006 that total Class 8 sales topped the 100,000 mark after only five months of the year as May sales were up 27.2% over the same month last year.
On the oops side, the month-over-month gain of 1.7% followed more significant month-over-month gains of 15% in March and 5.2% in April.
In all, there were 24,424 Class 8 trucks sold in May, bringing the yearly total to 111,332 compared with 88,674 after five months in 2018, a 25.6% bump.
Four of the seven nameplates posted month-over-month gains in May topped by Western Star (24.6%) and Volvo (23.8%).
All seven were up when compared with May 2018, led by Peterbilt (46.5%) and Freightliner (40.8).
Year-to-date, International has the largest increase (36.2%) followed by Freightliner (34.3%).
FTR Trucking Conditions Index improves slightly in April, still in negative territory
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index rebounded marginally in April to a -0.64 reading.
Conditions improved slightly from the previous month, but TCI remains in negative territory as the rate environment continues to soften.
Economic indicators linked to freight are generally weaker, and FTR expects that the index will remain in a narrow band of negative readings through 2019 and into the 2020 calendar year, FTR said.
Details of the April TCI are found in the June issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published May 31. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section in the current issue includes an updated analysis of the current trade situation and the impact it is having on freight. Along with the TCI and “Notes by the Dashboard Light,” the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.
“Not that long ago, it seemed inconceivable that the good times in trucking would end, but here we are back down to earth,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking. “Growth in manufacturing — the most significant driver of trucking activity — has subsided, and residential construction remains stagnant. However, there are some near-term positives, such as lower diesel prices. Also, carriers are responding to flagging demand by ending their hiring spree, which could set the stage for firmer capacity utilization down the road.”
The Trucking Conditions Index tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the U.S. truck market. These conditions are: freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price, and financing. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence fleet behavior. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem, while readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.
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