US trailer orders open new year with slight backlog growth

Preliminary estimate for January 2019 net trailer orders is 25,800 units, according to US-based ACT Research.

“While the industry had the weakest January order volume since 2016, it was still sufficient enough to generate very minor orderboard growth,” said ACT Research Director of CV Transportation Analysis and Research, Frank Maly.

“January net orders were off seven per cent versus December and 35 per cent down year-over-year,” he said. “Slower dry van and reefer trailer volume contributed to the declines. Indications are lower orders were not the result of weak fleet demand, as some OEMs report unwillingness to accept additional orders that would extend orderboards that, according to some reports, already fill available 2019 build slots.”

Maly also noted that slight gain in the orderboard means January was the third consecutive month that industry posted an all-timne record backlog, although the pace of improvement is beginning to wane.

“With backlogs extending through the year for dry vans and reefers, OEMs would likely need to quickly open 2020 orderbooks to allow for further backlog growth in the near-term,” he said. “Also, although the industry reported the highest monthly cancellations since August 2016, the rate of cancellations versus the orderboard remains well within acceptable limits.”

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