Following two sluggish months, trailer orders rebounded strongly in June with the second-highest monthly total this year, according to FTR. The data reinforces an ACT Research report from earlier this week.
U.S. trailer orders for June rose to 14,400 units, 10,000 above May and 9,000 units higher year over year. Trailer orders for the past 12 months total 164,000, FTR reports. ACT reported orders of 13,441 units in June.
The June increase was boosted by a recovery in the dry van market supplemented by decent refrigerated van orders, while flatbed orders remain lethargic. Even though June activity was much improved, FTR reports there is still too much uncertainty about the pandemic for fleets to have the confidence to order in large quantities. Backlogs continue to fall but are sufficient to support current production in the van segments, while flatbed producers continue to scramble for orders to build in the fourth quarter of this year, FTR states.
“Some of the larger fleets are sticking to their replacement cycles and ordering trailers. Freight has recovered to the point that well-run carriers are profitable and fleets can retire older trailers,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles.
“As freight volumes continue to improve, more fleets will be confident to place orders for delivery this year. Quote activity is picking up some. However, there are still significant headwinds facing the trailer market as the pandemic hangs on,” Ake says.
Fleets are closing on some deals that were bid before the pandemic and indicators suggest the trend will continue, Ake says. “It will take several more months, but it appears the trailer market is climbing out of the crevasse it was in and has put the worst of the economic crisis behind it,” he adds.