March Trailer Orders Lower than Expected

March trailer orders, released by A.C.T., were 11,308 -- well below the 15,000-17,000 range forecast by Bear Stearns.

On a year-over-year basis, orders for total trailers and dry vans were down 38% and 47%, respectively.

Dry van orders were 5,067 in March (vs. 15,451 in February), down 47% year-over-year (vs. up 27% year-over-year in February). Flatbed orders were 1,027 in March (vs. 1,221 in February), down 62% year-over-year (vs. down 30% year-over-year in February).

Dry van builds were 6,180, down 45% year-over-year (vs. down 39% year-over-year in February). Total trailer builds were 12,271 in March, down 41% year-over-year (vs. down 38% year-over-year in February).

Total trailer backlog-to-build ratios improved 20% year-over-year to 6.3x (vs. improvement of 4% year-over-year to 6.4x in February). Dry van backlog-to-build ratios improved 32% year-over-year to 7.2x (vs. improvement of 9% year-over-year to 7.0x in February).

Dry van inventories were 6,527 in March (vs. 7,317 in February), down 30% year-over-year (vs. down 29% year-over-year in February). Dry van inventories are now roughly 840 units higher than they were at the end of 2007.

Total trailer cancellation rates were 9% in March (vs. 1% in February), improving 350bp year-over-year (vs. improvement of 450bp year-over-year in February). Dry van cancellations were 10% (vs. 1% in February), improving 490bp (vs. improvement of 450bp year-over-year in February).

“March's weak order trends further demonstrates that as best as we can tell, there remains little reason for optimism for trailer demand for the foreseeable future,” Bear Stearns said.

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