Early reports from FTR on trailer order activity for March show that while orders declined by 16% from the month before, they remain historically strong.
FTR is projecting 27,500 trailer orders for the month, down from 32,000 the month before. However, trailer orders were still at the highest level for March since 2014 and up 34% from the same month a year ago.
Trailer orders for the past 12 months have totaled 328,000 orders, according to FTR.
“Even as orders decline, this remains a stout month of orders for the trailer industry,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Some dry van OEMs are running out of 2018 production slots, so we should see orders take their typical swoon in the summer months.”
FTR expects trailer backlogs to increase slightly as build rates also increase in the coming months. 2018 is shaping up to be another banner year for the trailer industry, Ake added. FTR attributes the historic trailer orders to an increase in freight growth. Fleets are ordering more equipment to address the high freight demand.
“The ELD conversion and driver shortage are just exacerbating an already tight capacity market,” said Ake. “Fleets need more trailers now and orders placed for Q4 delivery means they expect the freight surge to continue for a while - a good sign for the economy.”