June trailer orders surpass expectations

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Updated Jul 21, 2017

Recent ACT Research and FTR reports show preliminary estimates for June trailer orders have rebounded from a weak May to surpass expectations.

ACT Research announced Monday its preliminary estimate for June net trailer orders is 20,375 units. FTR on Tuesday pegged its estimate at 18,900 units.

“Net orders have now grown year-over-year for the last seven consecutive months. Orders continue to track above expectations, as fleets continue on a positive investment path after last fall’s lackluster order season kick-off,” says Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “While historical patterns do call for a sequential increase from May, the growth rate in total trailer net orders was more than double that projected by seasonal patterns.”

“The trailer market had a fantastic month in June,” adds FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles Don Ake. “Production was the highest since July 2015. Orders did not fall all much from the respectable numbers posted in March and April.  Backlogs are dropping, but that’s due to the high build rates rather than lower orders.”

FTR says June’s preliminary total is a 12 percent month-over-month improvement and a 58 percent increase over June 2016 orders. The company adds most segments moderately exceeding their May totals.

ACT concurred. Maly says flatbeds and reefers posted the best month-over-month improvement, while the sequential growth in dry van net orders was similar to overall total industry results.

“When compared to last June, preliminary information shows that dry vans were the major contributor to the solid industry results; dry van net orders were up nearly 125 percent versus last year,” he says.

FTR says trailers orders have now totaled 261,000 units over the past twelve months.  Production rose a surprisingly 5 percent from May primarily in the dry and refrigerated van sectors reducing the overall backlog by 6 percent.

“Medium and small fleets are ordering trailers as the spot freight market remains hot,” says Ake. “Large fleets are taking delivery on orders placed months ago, as the expected stronger freight growth starts to happen. Replacement demand for dry vans continues and flatbed demand has begun to take off.   The trailer market continues to exceed expectations in 2017.”

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