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Huge Trailer Backlog Fuels Build but Slows Orders

April 22, 2015

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Photo: Tom Berg
Photo: Tom Berg

Net trailer orders in March saw an incremental increase over February as OEMs are still increasing build to meet the surge in orders from late last year.  With most fleets having already ordered for 2015 requirements, orders hit 22,000 units representing a 25% decrease year over year, according to research firm FTR.

“Orders remain subdued, but when you consider how many orders have been placed in the last 12 months and that backlogs are near record levels, this market has tremendous strength,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles.

FTR reported that dry van orders recovered from a dip in February with a 37% increase, with flatbed orders flattening and reefer orders falling to their lowest level since June 20014. Build is up for all trailer types as OEMs fulfill the large backlog of orders from last year.

Liquid, dry tanks and dump trailers saw good order rates in March and positive build rates as well.

OEMs are booking orders late into the third and fourth quarters of 2015 with some already booking now for 2016. However, it is the increase in build that is the most important number for Ake.

“The OEMs were very productive coming out of the winter months - refrigerated van, dump and flatbed builds were significant,” said Ake. “There is enough backlog to continue this momentum for several months."

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