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Trailer orders continue to set records in November

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ACT Research’s final numbers for November 2018 net trailer orders is 45,000 units, up 101% year-over-year.

“Trailer orders continued to set records in November. Led by dry vans, OEMs saw the highest November order volume in history. Dry van volume has been a consistent influence in the market; September, October, and November ranking as the first, second, and third highest dry van order months ever recorded. That resulted in the last three months taking three of the top five volume spots for total industry orders in history,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “The order strength in both tractors and trailers indicate fleets continue to plan ambitious investment levels in the upcoming year, as they continue to join the ever-extending order queue.”

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The record-setting order flow has had a major impact on trailer industry backlogs. “We show the industry’s total orderboard closed November at nearly 239,000 trailers. That’s the highest level on record, breaking the previous mark set in December 1994,” Maly added.

At current production rates, on average, industry backlog stretches well into the third quarter of next year. As is the norm, dry vans and reefers are both out longer, actually extending into the fourth quarter of 2019, while vocational trailer categories have shorter, but still very robust horizons, ACT noted.

FTR had final trailer orders for Novemberat 45,000 units—17% below the impressive October activity, but with a 5% y/y increase. It was the fifth-highest order month ever and the best November in history. Trailer orders for the past twelve months now total 427,000 units.

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“There are still shortages of trailers in some markets as fleets continue to struggle to keep up with growing freight demand,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “Fleets are expecting they will need significantly more trailers throughout 2019. At some point, supply has to catch up with demand and that could begin to happen around mid-year. Expect trailer orders to fall for the next few months because most fleets already have their orders in for next year.”

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