Trailer inventories and production for the first quarter exceeded Bear Stearns' forecast, particularly for dry vans.
Dry van inventories eased 9% sequentially (7% for all trailers). While dry inventories have jumped 58% since the end of 2006, the month-over-month improvement was better than Bear Stearns expected.
“The industry appears to have finished the quarter a little stronger than expected,” Bear Stearns said.
However, it said trailer orders continue to be “weakish.” Total trailer orders were 18,320 for March, below Bear Stearns' forecast of 20,000-22,000 and down 50% year-over-year. Dry van orders were 9,515 in March, a 62% decrease year-over-year (versus a 34% drop year-over-year in February). Flatbed orders were 3,215 in March, down 26% year-over-year (vs a 36% decline year-over-year in February).
Dry van builds were 11,660 in March, off 16% year-over-year (vs an 11% drop year-over-year in February). Dry van backlog-to-build ratios deteriorated 7% year-over-year to 5.4% (in contrast to a 2% decline year-over-year in February).