Reports: October marks another strong month for trailer orders

Updated Nov 15, 2018

ACT Research and FTR are reporting strong trailer order totals in October, following a record-setting September. ACT’s preliminary estimate for October net trailer orders is 55,250 units and FTR is reporting 53,000 units for the month.

“After posting the highest monthly net order volume in history in September, the trailer industry continued at a breakneck pace in October. Our projection ranks October as the second-best net order month in history, up more than 70 percent year over year,” says Frank Maly, ACT’s director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research.

Seasonally adjusted, October net orders were almost 48,000 units. The trailer order season, which normally begins in October, has already been underway for several months so that higher seasonal impact reduces the adjusted results, according to an announcement.

Fleets have ordered approximately 350,000 trailers year to date.

“Through 10 months, net orders are up 55 percent versus last year, strong evidence of the positive fleet outlook driving robust investment plans. The longevity of the current order cycle is evident with a review of recent history; six of the industry’s top ten order months have occurred since last November,” Maly says.

While strength in dry vans continues to support overall industry results, the preliminary numbers point to last month’s reefer volume as the highest ever recorded, according to ACT.

Final October volume will be available later this month. ACT’s methodology allows it to generate a preliminary estimate of the market that should be within +/- 3 percent of the final order tally.

According to FTR, additional OEM’s started taking orders for the second half of 2019 and their customers responded by placing huge orders to reserve future build slots. Supply for production parts and components remains tight.

October 2019 trailer orders exceeded the same month last year by 67 percent, with orders for the past 12 months at 423,000. Both dry van and flatbed orders were very robust but refrigerated vans moderated somewhat, FTR reports.

“This was another great month for trailer orders. Fleets need to expand to handle steady freight growth. Capacity utilization remains at highly elevated levels. Trailers are being used to make drivers more productive and to help move goods as fast as possible. The supply chain is struggling to perform well and more trailers are needed to improve delivery times,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Fleets are expecting the good times to continue and want to make sure they have an adequate supply of trailers throughout 2019.”

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