FTR Reports Trailer Orders Improved in April at 15,800 Units


FTR reports U.S. Trailer net orders for April met expectations, at 15,800 units. Order activity was up 15% m/m but down 12% y/y, registering the weakest April since 2010. Orders have totaled 289,000 units for the last 12 months, and backlogs are now down 7% y/y.

Dry van orders rebounded in April after a very weak March but were still at the second lowest total for the year. Refrigerated van orders were down m/m and the lowest since 2013, with flatbeds orders similar to March. April order activity for liquid tanks and dump trailers was weak during April. There was minimal change in trailer build daily rates, which have remained fairly steady through the first four months of the year.

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Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, commented, “The trailer market is slowly moderating and beginning a transition period. Orders have been weak for two consecutive months, and the start of the traditional summer order slump is still two months away. Backlogs remain excellent, so no major adjustment to production is expected for a few months. Cancellations were elevated for the second straight month, and this is usually an indication the market will begin cooling soon.

“Dry vans and refrigerated vans continue to sustain the trailer market. Fleets are profitable, and they are using some of these profits to replace units that were not able to be replaced during the Great Recession. Refrigerated freight is still robust, driving the need for new and replacement units. The dump trailer market is being boosted by increased road construction.”

The full trailer data is available as part of FTR's North American Truck & Trailer Outlook service. To contact FTR, send an email to [email protected] or call (888) 988-1699 ext. 1.

For more than two decades, FTR has been the thought leader in freight transportation forecasting in North America. The company’s national award-winning forecasters collect and analyze all data likely to impact freight movement, issuing consistently reliable reports for trucking, rail, and intermodal transportation, as well as providing demand analysis for commercial vehicle and railcar. FTR’s forecasting and specially designed reports have resulted in advanced planning and cost-savings for companies throughout the transportation sector.