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FTR reports preliminary trailer orders remain healthy

Jan. 14, 2021
December order activity resulted in 41,700 units, an increase of six percent month over month and 155 percent year over year.

FTR reported that preliminary U.S. net trailer orders remained vibrant for the fourth consecutive month, totaling 41,700 units in December. December order activity was up 6 percent month over month and 155 percent year over year. Total trailer orders for 2020 totaled 297,000.

The order volume for October-December was the highest ever for a fourth quarter. Fleets continue to order dry and refrigerated vans in hefty quantities for delivery throughout 2021. Consumer-oriented freight growth continues to rise and should continue, pushed by the second government stimulus. Vocational trailer orders are still recovering but should improve as manufacturing grows.

“This is another great month for trailer orders,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles, FTR. “The last four months are very similar to the order surge in August-November 2018. These orders have boosted the backlogs after hitting a low point in July during the throes of the pandemic. Orders should begin falling in January if the 2019 trend repeats. However, there are enough orders in the backlog for a healthy production year.

“Fleet optimism continues to gain momentum. Freight volumes are healthy and growing while the industry is still scrambling to handle the economic restart. The growth should continue as people get vaccinated and employment rises. I also expect manufacturing activity to intensify soon. This will lift industrial-oriented freight.”