FTR has increased its Class 8 and trailer order forecasts as a result of increased demand for equipment caused by what the research firm calls a "capacity crisis."

FTR now projects North American Class 8 truck factory shipments for 2018 to hit 330,000 units and trailer shipments this year to hit 334,000 units.

In the past three months, truck orders have boomed to 41,500 units per month and trailer orders have averaged 46,000 units per month over the same period.

"There is a capacity crisis occurring as surging freight growth is combining with lower productivity due to ELD implementation," said FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles Don Ake. "Many shippers began having problems finding trucks to move goods as early as September 2017.  Conditions continued to tighten and now it is a nationwide issue.”  

FTR’s freight models had predicted that capacity would become an issue in early 2018 and that drove its optimistic forecasts. But a stronger than expected economy has also boosted projections for the year. Barring any economic shock, FTR expects freight growth and equipment demand to remain steady going into 2019.  Capacity utilization is expected to ease in late 2018, but still remain at historically high levels.

“When the economy exceeded expectations in the second half of 2017, those forecasts were increased further," said Ake. "And now with the tax reform package, the economy is generating even more freight and orders for trucks and trailers are pouring in.”