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June trailer orders rise after several weak months

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David Sickels is the Associate Editor of Tire Review and Fleet Equipment magazines. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

Final U.S. trailer orders rebounded in June after two sluggish months, according to FTR. Trailer orders for June rose significantly to 14,400 units, 10,000 above May.

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The June increase was boosted by a recovery in the dry van market supplemented by decent refrigerated van orders, FTR says, adding that flatbed orders remain lethargic. 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, FTR said. Backlogs continue to fall but are sufficient to support current production in the van sements, 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. Freight has recovered to the point that well-run carriers are profitable, and fleets can retire older trailers.,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles. “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. 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.”

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