North American Class 8 truck orders jump 62 percent

DETROIT (Reuters) - North American orders for Class 8 semi-trucks jumped 62 percent in September over the same period in 2016 and orders are set to rise even more in the fourth quarter as strong freight demand and a growing economy spur truck firms to enlarge their fleets, according to FTR, a firm that tracks the industry.

FTR said that net orders for the trucks that haul freight along America’s highways and byways hit 22,100 in September. The company said orders from Canada were “particularly robust as fleets are benefiting from a strong economy.”

September marks the fourth consecutive month of rising truck orders. Truck orders slumped in 2017 amid high inventory levels and truckers’ concerns over the state of the economy.

“The recovery in the Class 8 market is building, and we saw that with the orders through the summer,” Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles, said in a statement. “Stronger freight growth generated by a more vibrant U.S. economy will spur demand for additional trucks next year.”

Growth in 2018 could be fueled by a federal mandate that truck firms switch to electronic logs (ELDs) from paper logs in December 2017. Experts predict many smaller truck firms that fudge the books in order to stay profitable in a low-margin industry will close up shop.

Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Matthew Lewis