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ELD Mandate Pushes Fleets to Order Record Number of Trailers

January 12, 2018

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Tightening capacity, partially attributed to effects from the ELD Mandate, December 2017 was the best month for trailer orders ever, according to FTR. Photo: Stoughton 
Tightening capacity, partially attributed to effects from the ELD Mandate, December 2017 was the best month for trailer orders ever, according to FTR. Photo: Stoughton

Trailer orders in the U.S. hit are expected to hit an all-time high of 47,000 units to end the year, the highest total yet recorded by the analysts at FTR, who recently released the preliminary numbers for December.

When December’s order numbers are finalized, the total is expected to exceed the previous high of 45,800 reached in October 2014. At 47,000 units, trailer orders are up 10% over November’s numbers and up 38% in year-over-year comparisons.

Fleets are ordering thousands of dry van trailers to deal with tightening trucking capacity that FTR attributes to the ELD mandate that went into effect last month. Freight has continued to grow without enough equipment to haul it, and carriers are resorting to more drop-and-hook to compensate for the lack of drivers, according to FTR. The extra trailers are needed to manage the increasing demand.

Economic growth has also kept trailer demand strong in other segments. Refrigerated freight has remained robust, while the flatbed market surged due to construction and manufacturing growth. Trank trailer demand has also increased with higher crude oil prices.

“December was just an awesome month for trailer orders,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “We have seen pressure build on equipment markets for several months, and this shows Q1 is going to be hectic as fleets scramble to keep up with freight demand.”

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