After months of record breaking growth, heavy duty truck orders have slowed down in November. The freight market is slowing down in tandem. Erica Phillips reports for The Wall Street Journal:
Orders for heavy-duty trucks declined in November for the first time this year, falling to the lowest level in 14 months and providing a fresh sign the North American trucking market is cooling down.
Trucking companies last month ordered 27,900 new Class 8 trucks, the heavy-duty rigs used on regional and long-haul routes, according to a preliminary estimate from industry data provider ACT Research. That was down 15% from the same month a year ago and off 36% from October, when orders reached 43,600.
“Truck demand has peaked and will start to wane,” said Steve Tam, vice president for ACT.
November’s decline capped a monthslong run of historic growth in manufacturers’ orders that came as U.S. companies scrambled to find the freight capacity to meet surging economic demand and trucking companies raced to get new trucks on the road.
That buying spree produced 468,600 new truck orders in the first 11 months of this year, 81% more than the same period in 2017, according to ACT, and pushed backlogs at truck-equipment makers like Paccar Inc., Navistar International Corp. and engine maker Cummins Inc. deep into next year.
Orders have pulled back, however, since peaking at 53,040 in August, according ACT. “The slowdown was inevitable,” Mr. Tam said.
The broader freight trucking market also is slowing.
Demand declined at a double-digit percentage pace in November from a year ago for van, flatbed and refrigerated trucks, according to online freight marketplace DAT Solutions LLC.
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