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June rise in orders ‘good news’ for trailer market: FTR

July 27, 2020
June increase boosted by a recovery in the dry van segment, supplemented by 'decent' refrigerated van orders

FTR has reported that final net trailer orders for June rose significantly to 14,400 units, 10,000 above May and more than 9,000 year over year. Final U.S. trailer orders rebounded in June after two sluggish months. June orders were the second-highest monthly total this year. Trailer orders for the past 12 months total 164,000.

The June increase was boosted by a recovery in the dry van market supplemented by decent refrigerated van orders.  Flatbed orders remain lethargic, FTR noted. Even though June activity was much improved, there is still too much uncertainty about the pandemic for fleets to have the confidence to order in large quantities. Backlogs continue to fall but are sufficient to support current production in the van segments, while flatbed producers continue to scramble for orders to build in Q4.

 “Some of the larger fleets are sticking to their replacement cycles and ordering trailers,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Freight has recovered to the point that well-run carriers are profitable, and fleets can retire older trailers. As freight volumes continue to improve, more fleets will be confident to place orders for delivery this year. Quote activity is picking up some. However, there are still significant headwinds facing the trailer market as the pandemic hangs on.

“Even though the total was not that impressive, this is still good news for the trailer market,” Ake added. “Fleets are closing on some deals that were bid before the pandemic and there are indications this trend will continue. It will take several more months, but it appears the trailer market is climbing out of the crevasse it was in and has put the worst of the economic crisis behind it.”