Trailer orders 'weak' in April

Based on April trailer data released by A.C.T., dry-van, reefer and flatbed orders were "weak across the board", according to Bear Stearns' analysis.

Total trailer orders were 12,334, well below Bear Stearns' forecast of 15,000-17,000 and down 40% year-over-year (vs. down 50% year-over-year in March). Dry van orders were 4,245 in April (vs. 9,515 in March), down 63% year-over-year (vs. down 62% year-over-year in March). Flatbed orders were 2,181 in April (vs. 3,215 in March), down 8% year-over-year (vs. down 27% year-over-year in March).

Dry-van builds were 10,733, down 18% year-over-year (vs. down 16% year-over-year in March). Total trailer backlog-to-build ratios deteriorated 19% year-over-year to 5.7x (vs. down 7.8% year-over-year in March). Dry van backlog-to-build ratios deteriorated 22% year-over-year to 5.2x (vs. down 7% year-over-year in March).

Dry-van inventories were 9,493 in April (vs. 9,348 in March), up 41% year-over-year (vs. up 48% year-over-year in March). Dry-van inventories are now roughly 3,400 units higher than they were at the end of 2006, and are now at "near-alarming levels," according to Bear Stearns.

Total trailer cancellation rates were 11.4% in April, deteriorating 640bp year-over-year (vs. deterioration of 980bp year-over-year in March). Dry-van cancellations were 18.3% in April, deteriorating 1,310bp year-over-year (vs. deterioration of 1,330bp year-over-year in March).

"Based on our channel checks, our fundamental outlook for trailers remains weak," Bear Stearns said.

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