January continued a three-month stretch of elevated trailer orders. Reefer orders were particularly strong.  Photo: Carrier Transicold

January continued a three-month stretch of elevated trailer orders. Reefer orders were particularly strong.  Photo: Carrier Transicold

Trailer orders in January will likely breach 39,000 units once the final numbers are tallied, indicating a strong start to 2018,  according to preliminary reports released by FTR and by ACT Research.

January orders are up 22% year-over-year at 39,100 units according to ACT Research. It is the third consecutive month of strong trailer orders. Despite the strong showing, trailer orders were actually down slightly from December when trailer orders hit an all-time high volume. They are also down slightly from November, but overall, analysts consider it to be a strong three-month stretch.

“This continues a string of extremely solid order placement. November and December of last year, along with January of this year, rank as the third, second, and fifth highest order months in industry history,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research. “Tight trucking capacity and solid freight rates are supporting both fleet needs and investment ability. Lengthening industry backlogs also encourage fleets to join industry orderboards.”

Dry van orders were higher for the month and refrigerated van orders were particularly strong, coming in 250% better than for Jan. 2017, according to ACT Research.  A strong economy has led to consistent freight growth and fleets are buying more trailers and trucks to add capacity to their fleets as a result, according to FTR.

“Carriers continue to add trailers as a way to increase total productivity.  All trailer segments are now looking very bright for 2018,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Overall business confidence is surging due to tax reform and it’s making a hot market even hotter.”

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