US trailer orders reach highest level in 2020: FTR

Final net trailer orders continued to climb in July, according to Freight Transportation Research (FTR), reaching 19,300 units – the highest level for the year.

July order activity was up 33 per cent from June and +84 per cent  y/y. Trailer orders now total 173,000 for the past 12 months. 

FTR said dry van orders sustained their momentum after diving perspicuously during the pandemic. Refrigerated van orders were solid for the second straight month. However, flatbed orders remained soft, as the manufacturing sector struggles to regain its footing. Backlogs should begin to stabilis, providing a base for higher 2021 production. 

“July’s order volume is significant, as it allows most OEMs to maintain production rates for the next few months,” said FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, Don Ake.

“Fleets are displaying renewed confidence in the freight markets and have increased their ordering volumes accordingly. OEM’s also feel much better about business conditions than they did in Q2.

“While sales are not vibrant, they are still much better than were expected only a couple of months ago. The industry is making a solid comeback considering the circumstances.

“The best news about July is that some of the orders came from dealers. OEMs were concerned that their dealers were overstocked in May and that would limit future production. However, dealer sales were stronger than expected in June and July, prompting dealers to place some restocking orders. This indicates some medium and small fleets are finding plenty of freight to haul. The improved business conditions also indicate larger fleets are beginning to replace older trailers, after pausing during the pandemic.”

For more than 30 years, FTR has served as the industry leader in freight transportation forecasting for the shipping, trucking, rail, intermodal, equipment, and financial communities in North America. FTR’s experts, with over 250 years of combined experience in the transportation industry, provide quantitative analysis with historical and modal-specific insights.

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