FTR reported that final U.S. net trailer orders for November came in at a strong 41,400 units, as fleets continue to lock up build slots well into 2021. While November was down 26 percent month over month, that comparison was against a huge October and was up 107 percent year over year. The order total for September-November was the second-highest three-month period ever. Trailer orders for the last twelve months now equal 270,700 units.
Dry van orders backed off the recent record highs but remained substantial. Refrigerated van orders were lofty for the third straight month. Flatbed orders finally started to recover after an extended dry spell, hitting the highest volume since January 2019.
“There is growing optimism by the fleets of a vibrant freight market in 2021,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles, FTR. “Strong freight growth is constraining capacity, fueling the need for additional trailers. In addition, fleet profitability remains high due to a bright rate environment. This means fleets can replace older trailers and it reduces the risk of expanding capacity. The dry van segment continues to show robust strength. More trailers are needed to handle the fast, multiple moves of consumer goods ordered through ecommerce.
“The positive momentum in the trailer market continues to roll on in November,” said Ake. “Fleets are expecting a great year in 2021 and are ordering large quantities of trailers in preparation. It’s encouraging to see flatbed orders finally showing some life. This bodes well for the manufacturing and industrial sectors going into 2021.”