According to preliminary figures tracked by FTR Transportation Intelligence, trailer orders in march hit 27,500 units. And though that reflects a “typical seasonal decline” of 16% month-over-month from February’s numbers, trailer orders remain “historically strong,” with orders the highest for the month of march since 2014 and up 34% from March of last year.
“Even as orders decline, this remains a stout month of orders for the trailer industry,” noted Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles, in a statement. “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.”
He added that March’s trailer order volume should increase backlogs slightly as build rates are expected to increase in the coming months. Overall, trailer orders have totaled 328,000 units for the past 12 months.
“The freight growth numbers we continue to see are very impressive across all trailer segments, especially flatbeds,” Ake pointed out. “Fleets are ordering trailers at a record pace to catch up to freight demand. The ELD [electronic logging device] conversion [process] and the driver shortage are just exacerbating an already tight capacity market. Fleets need more trailers now and orders placed for fourth quarter delivery means they expect the freight surge to continue for a while – a good sign for the economy.”