Early trailer order numbers from FTR Intelligence reflect an impressive showing for the month of May, despite an expected seasonal decline.
FTR’s preliminary report projects 21,200 orders in May, slightly down from the 22,000 units projected for April. But with all of the orders, bottlenecks in supply for key components and fabrications could hold up production.
“The capacity crunch continues and there are reports of trailer shortages by shippers,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “The supply chain is getting plugged up and some full trailers are sitting at warehouses for days, waiting to be unloaded. These trailers are in effect pulled out of service in these regions causing temporary availability issues. Shipments are being delayed in many markets and more trailers are needed to keep the freight moving.”
In the past 12 months, trailer orders have totaled 335,000 units and orders are on pace for a record year in 2018, even if production constraints hold up the actual amount of trailers built before year’s end.
“In 2015, May was the weakest order month and this May’s number is 30% higher than that,” said Ake. “There is a chance that May could be the lowest month this year if fleets start ordering for 2019 early. Some OEMs are booked solid for 2018 and are soliciting orders for next year.”