FTR and ACT Research reported this week January preliminary trailers orders near 40,000 units. FTR says this is the third consecutive month orders have approached such heights.
“The vibrant economy continues to produce sturdy freight growth and fleets are hurrying to add capacity. That has showed up in the truck numbers and even more in the trailer numbers,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles.
ACT Research pegged the month as just below that benchmark at 39,100 units.
“January net orders came in 22 percent better year-over-year. While down 15 percent from December, that’s a comparison to the second-best month in industry history and was the best January on record,” says Frank Maly, ACT’s director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research. “This continues a string of extremely solid order placement. November and December of last year, along with January of this year, rank as the third, second, and fifth highest order months in industry history.”
Both companies will release their final order data later this month. FTR says if the numbers hold when final orders are reported, this will be the first time in history that the industry has been at those levels in any three-month period. Dry van totals were elevated again and refrigerated van orders were particularly strong, setting “an all-time monthly record, coming in 250 percent better than last January,” Maly says.
January order activity is expected to raise backlogs to the highest level since March of 2016, FTR reports.
“Carriers continue to add trailers as a way to increase total productivity. All trailer segments are now looking very bright for 2018. Overall business confidence is surging due to tax reform and it’s making a hot market even hotter,” says Ake.
Maly adds,“Tight trucking capacity and solid freight rates are supporting both fleet needs and investment ability. Lengthening industry backlogs also encourage fleets to join industry orderboards.”