Trailer orders exceed 30,000 units for fifth consecutive month

FTR reported Friday preliminary February trailer orders at 32,000 units.

Now the fifth consecutive month orders have surpassed 30,000 units, FTR says February’s total was down 20 percent from January but up 24 percent over February 2018. If these preliminary numbers hold, it will be a record February for trailer orders, FTR says.

“The trailer market remains red-hot. Fleets are scrambling to add capacity and are ordering large numbers of trucks and trailers. Most of these orders are for the second half of the year. This is good news for the economy and the industry in that carriers expect the solid freight demand to last throughout 2018,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “The economy is vibrant and producing freight growth across all sectors, which is boosting all segments of trailers and resulting in record order months.”

FTR says February’s total shows orders have dropped from the huge volumes of the past three months but remain historically high. Backlogs should rise above 170,000 units for the first time since early in 2016, the company says.

Later on Friday ACT Research also announced its preliminary February trailer orders at 33,000 units. The company says that total was 17 percent off from January and that sequential softening in orders is expected as we approach the end of the industry’s traditional order season. Net orders are 24 percent above the same point in 2017 and with the industry’s orderboard also 20 percent above this point last year.

“Fleets continue to place orders at a record pace, as last month was the strongest February order volume in industry history,” says Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research for ACT. “That follows a record-setting string of months that started last fall. February’s all-time high also follows the strongest January in industry history. The supporting story continues to be tight trucking capacity and the resulting strong freight rates, driving fleet equipment needs and purchase ability.

“Industry backlogs now stretch through September on average, with dry van and reefers averaging lead times that stretch into the fourth quarter. That lengthy timeline also helps encourage fleets to join the order queue.”

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