February commercial trailer net orders were up 168 percent from February 2009 and were at their highest level in two years. Dry van orders were very strong, posting triple-digit increases on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis, according to ACT Research Co. (ACT).
In the latest release of State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers, ACT noted widespread improvement with y/y growth in seven of the nine trailer segments. Reefer van orders, which generally performed the best during the recession, posted a year-over-year gain of 45 percent. The improved orders pushed total trailer backlogs to its highest level in 17 months, which will support a gradual increase in production rates.
“Over the past several weeks, numerous indicators and comments from trucking companies have pointed to a rapid tightening of truck capacity,” said Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT Research. “With tighter capacity comes increasing freight rates and profitability for fleets, which is a precursor for both new tractor and trailer demand. The strong dry van orders, especially one large order from a major private carrier, indicate increasing optimism within the truckload industry.”