FTR reported Friday preliminary U.S. net trailer orders continued to moderate in February, falling 23 percent month over month to 23,100 units.
The company says orders were 64 percent above February 2020 and current order activity is very consistent with seasonal trends, following a record-setting Q4 in 2020. Trailer orders for the past twelve months total 322,000, the company adds. ACT announced its preliminary February order total of 24,200 units on Thursday.
FTR says freight markets continue to be strong with more trailers needed to meet the growing demand. Most fleets have already placed all their orders for 2021 delivery — especially for dry and refrigerated vans. The company notes orders in the flatbed and other vocational segments are expected to continue to recover until entering the summer months.
"Fleets have placed large orders for trailers in response to the robust freight demand. OEMs are under pressure to fill these orders due to bottlenecks in the supply chain," says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. "Suppliers are facing worker shortages; some raw materials are scarce and there are still delays getting some imported parts through the West Coast ports. Once the situation improves, production will be steady, at high volumes for an extended time."
Ake adds that 2021 should be "another fantastic year" for the trailer industry once the supply chain stabilizes. He says freight growth should continue to be vibrant throughout the year. Additionally, "consumer freight has been elevated for months and now manufacturing freight is poised to bounce. Demand for trailers will continue at elevated rates, right into 2022. Fleets desperately need more trailers right now and this trend will continue until supply catches up with demand," he says.