U.S. trailer orders fell to 21,200 in May but still stayed ahead of last year's pace of trailer orders, according to preliminary reports released by FTR Transportation Intelligence this week. If manufacturers can keep up production, the industry is looking at a record year for trailers.
As the weather has heated up, FTR reports that the traditional seasonal drop in trailer orders has continued. But those orders are stronger than normal -- as seen in the small dip from April's 22,000 trailer orders.
“At twenty-one thousand plus, this is still an impressive order total for May." said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. "In 2015, May was the weakest order month and this May’s number is 30% higher than that. There is a chance that May could be the lowest month this year if fleets start ordering for 2019 early. Some OEMs are booked solid for 2018 and are soliciting orders for next year.”
Trailer orders now totaled 335,000 units for the past twelve months, according to latest data. If OEM’s could build all the orders being placed, 2018 would easily be a record year. However, supplier constraints on key components and fabrications are holding back production. Even so, production is robust and still expected to set a record.
“The capacity crunch continues and there are reports of trailer shortages by shippers," Ake said. "The supply chain is getting plugged up and some full trailers are sitting at warehouses for days, waiting to be unloaded. These trailers are in effect pulled out of service in these regions causing temporary availability issues. Shipments are being delayed in many markets and more trailers are needed to keep the freight moving.”
For more than two decades, FTR has been the thought leader in freight transportation forecasting in North America. The company’s national award-winning forecasters collect and analyze all data likely to impact freight movement, issuing consistently reliable reports for trucking, rail, and intermodal transportation, as well as providing demand analysis for commercial vehicle and railcar. FTR’s forecasting and specially designed reports have resulted in advanced planning and cost-savings for companies throughout the transportation sector.