Commercial trailer net orders rise to two-year high

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February commercial trailer net orders were up 168 percent from February 2009 and were at their highest level in two years. Dry van orders were strong, posting triple-digit increases on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis, according to ACT Research Co., which noted widespread improvement with year-over-year growth in seven of the nine trailer segments.

Reefer van orders, which generally performed the best during the recession, posted a year-over-year gain of 45 percent. The improved orders pushed total trailer backlogs to the highest level in 17 months, which will support a gradual increase in production rates.

“Over the past several weeks, numerous indicators and comments from trucking companies have pointed to a rapid tightening of truck capacity,” says Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT Research. “With tighter capacity comes increasing freight rates and profitability for fleets, which is a precursor for both new tractor and trailer demand. The strong dry van orders, especially one large order from a major private carrier, indicate increasing optimism within the truckload industry.”