Strong trailer orders signal confidence in 2020 freight market

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Trailer orders came roaring back last month after a disappointing September, landing inline with expectations at 31,800 units – a 71 percent from the month before – according to preliminary data released by FTR.

October order activity hit its highest level since November 2018 and was driven by several large dry van fleet orders for 2020, which FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles Don Ake said reflects “confidence in the freight markets going into next year.”

October still saw elevated cancellations as OEMs continue to cleaning up 2019 backlogs, and production last month is expected to be down moderately on a per-day basis with backlogs climbing slightly for the first time in 10 months. Trailer orders now total 241,000 units for the past 12 months.

“Dry van orders were strong despite a lull in freight growth,” Ake said. “There still is plenty of replacement demand present and fleets continue to need more dry vans to move products quickly to and between warehouses due to increased online sales.”

FTR reports the vocation trailer markets, such as flatbeds and dumps, are still struggling as the industrial sectors of the economy weaken. Refrigerated van orders are expected to increase soon.