ACT: U.S. Trailer Net Orders Rise 27% Y/Y in February

Historically strong U.S. trailer net order volumes in 2017’s final two months were followed by more of the same in 2018’s first two months. According to ACT Research, February’s net orders, while 14th highest on the all-time list, were the strongest February net order volume in industry history.

“Dry vans and reefers were off sequentially. Flatbeds had the best monthly gain,” said Frank Maly, director–CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “On a [year-over-year] basis, eight of the 10 trailer categories were up, with liquid tank orders more than double last year. Total industry net volume was up 27% [year-over-year]. The saga of strong freight demand, tight capacity, and industry backlogs that, on average, stretch through September, continued to support order strength.

“Every trailer category posted both sequential gains and [year-over-year] improvement of backlogs in February, which is an indication of widespread fleet investment,” Maly said. “As seasonally expected, production is beginning to increase. The increase in build rates offset the gains in backlog, resulting in the BL/BU ratio ending February at seven months, which commits the industry, on average, through September, with both vans and reefers stretched into Q4.”

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