FTR reports preliminary March trailer orders at 27,500, which reflect a typical seasonal decline from February, down 16% month over month. However, orders were historically strong with order activity at the highest level for the month of March since 2014 and up 34% from March 2017. The order volume should increase backlogs slightly as build rates are expected to increase in the coming months. Trailer orders have totalled 328,000 for the past twelve months.
Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, commented, “Even as orders decline, this remains a stout month of orders for the trailer industry. Some dry van OEMs are running out of 2018 production slots, so we should see orders take their typical swoon in the summer months. However, the amount of orders already placed has created a substantial backlog, which will create another stellar year for the trailer industry.”
“The freight growth numbers we continue to see are very impressive across all trailer segments, especially flatbeds. Fleets are ordering trailers at a record pace to catch up to freight demand. The ELD conversion and driver shortage are just exacerbating an already tight capacity market. Fleets need more trailers now and orders placed for Q4 delivery means they expect the freight surge to continue for a while, a good sign for the economy.”