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Dry Van Surge Drives Trailer Order Increase

September 22, 2015

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Trailer orders saw a significant increase in August due to a surge in the dry van market, according to the latest report from ACT Research and FTR.

Orders were up nearly 21% over July, with more than 24,500 units moved in the month, but had decreased 0.4% compared with last August. The jump in order activity follows an industry trend of increases in the winter and fall.  

The dry van trailer market drove the increase in orders and was up 40% from July. Flatbed orders were also up significantly, rising 39%. Refrigerated van trailers were also among the strongest segments, according to FTR. U.S. trailer orders have totaled 335,000 units over the past 12 months for the second straight month.

“The industry has seen a pull-forward of the fall/winter order season over the past couple years and August new order volume, which was dry-van oriented, is likely a continuation of that trend,” said Frank Maly, director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT.

Falling oil prices and production have had a negative effect on energy-sector segments that include liquid and bulk tanks. Flatbed order cancellations were high for the second consecutive month, which is being attributed to high dealer stock.

August production reached a per-day high for the year, according to FTR, with dry van, reefer, and dump trailer production hitting the highest levels.

“This was another awesome, impressive, month for the trailer industry. August orders were superb on a seasonal basis and production hit a high point for this cycle,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR. “We expect things to moderate at some point, but there are few signs of that yet.”

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