Fleets keep buying trailers – 55K of them in October

Trailer orders are booming for manufacturers, setting a record in September and nearly matching it in October. ( Photo: Shuttertstock )

Following a record month for orders in September, trucking fleets continued to order new trailers in October. Both ACT Research and FTR reported near-record trailer orders for October.

ACT said trailer manufacturers booked a preliminary total of 55,250 unit orders in October, just off September’s record 58,200-unit rate. FTR reported a total of 53,000 units.

“After posting the highest monthly net order volume in history in September, the trailer industry continued at a breakneck pace in October. Our projection ranks October as the second-best net order month in history, up more than 70% year-over-year,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s Director of CV Transportation Analysis & Research.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, ACT said the orders reached nearly 48,000 units. Year-to-date, fleets have ordered roughly 350,000 trailers, ACT said.

“Through ten months, net orders are up 55% versus last year, strong evidence of the positive fleet outlook driving robust investment plans,” Maly said. “The longevity of the current order cycle is evident with a review of recent history; six of the industry’s top ten order months have occurred since last November.”

FTR said that OEMs are now taking build orders for the second half of 2019. On a year-over-year basis, FTR said October orders exceeded 2017 by 67% and orders are at 423,000 for the past 12 months.

“This was another great month for trailer orders. Fleets need to expand to handle steady freight growth. Capacity utilization remains at highly elevated levels. Trailers are being used to make drivers more productive and to help move goods as fast as possible,” Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, said. “The supply chain is struggling to perform well, and more trailers are needed to improve delivery times. Fleets are expecting the good times to continue and want to make sure they have an adequate supply of trailers throughout 2019.”

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.