Photo: Great Dane

Photo: Great Dane

The final trailer order numbers for the month of July have been released by transportation industry analysts FTR and ACT Research, showing a steep decline from the previous month, but an increase overall compared to last year.

FTR found that trailer orders hit 13,400 units, falling 29% from June but up 40% compared to last July. Order activity met expectations in most segments, according to FTR.

“Orders usually fall as fleet managers take a break and turn their focus to next year,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “The bright spots this month are the strong flatbed orders, and that production did not fall much from June’s impressive totals. This indicates production should be fairly steady the rest of the year.”

July is usually the weakest order month of the year, according to ACT Research, due to a pause from fleets as they reassess equipment needs for the rest of the year.

“We saw continued strong year-over-year net order performance last month,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “As has been the pattern, solid dry van commitments helped lead the total industry, with significant year-over-year gains in flatbed trailers occurring as well.”

So far this year, the industry has booked over 153,000 net orders, according to ACT, representing a 43% improvement over 2016. The shift by fleets to a more positive outlook coincided with last fall’s election, according to ACT.

“Another positive for the industry is that cancellations remain low,” said Maly. “Fleets are obviously standing firm with their order commitments, an indication of fleet confidence in the near-to-medium term outlook.”