According to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: NA Classes 5-8 Report, truck transportation showed relatively strong performance on restocking activity into the end of March, making the month’s data largely transitional, rather than representative of activity expected in coming months.
“The most obvious signs that the pandemic is starting to impact data can be found in March’s Class 8 orders and cancellations,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst. He adds, “Deteriorating new order activity and meaningfully higher cancellations dropped Class 8 net orders to their lowest level in over 10 years.”
Speaking about the heavy-duty market, Vieth says, “In addition to the fall of Class 8 net orders, cancellations rose to an 18-month high and with the freight surge subsiding, freight rates fell sharply into early April.” He continues, “Added to the cliff-like decline in economic activity over the past 6 weeks, there is nothing to suggest any near-term improvement in order conditions.”
Regarding the medium-duty markets, he comments, “Similar to Class 8, medium-duty orders and somewhat elevated cancellations are the only places to find clues in March of the COVID-19 impact. Net orders were down at about half the Class 8 rate, and like Class 8, the pandemic hits a medium-duty market sporting very large new vehicle inventories.”
ACT Research has created an easily accessible webpage to track noteworthy high frequency macroeconomic and transportation-specific market indicators.