ACT: Trailer Orders Up 45% Y/Y, Index Reaches Highest Level Since 2014

ACT Research’s preliminary estimate for March net trailer orders is 21,500 units. Final March volume will be available later this month.

“Commitments have been delayed this order season, as fleets carefully monitored economic conditions and watched the political winds to determine their confidence regarding capital expenditures. Their shift from caution to a more optimistic outlook is evident when you consider net order volumes in each of the last four months has surpassed the same month of the prior year,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “While the 20% decline in net orders from February was a bit more than anticipated, March net orders were up a very solid 45% versus last year. The majority of that strength came from dry vans, which were roughly double last year’s level.”

Maly added, “The order season normally starts strong in late summer/early fall and closes the first quarter at a more moderate pace. This order cycle has proceeded in almost the opposite pattern. In fact, the longer-term perspective shows the total net orders booked from last September through March is now almost equal to the 2015/2016 order cycle volume.”

In addition, the latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index indicated that March’s volume reading (71.1) soared to the highest level since March of 2014. This was 20 points above both the February and the 12-month average readings.

Similar to the volume reading, the pricing index hit close-to a three-year high of 64.8, the highest since May of 2014. This also marked the sixth consecutive month of positive price index readings. Echoing the volume index, fleet productivity jumped to 61.7 points in March, also the highest since March of 2014.

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