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Trailer orders close 2017 at record levels

December U.S. net trailer orders were an all-time high 47,000 units according to FTR.

December’s mark was 10 percent than November and 38 percent more than last year. When finalized, FTR expects December orders to exceed the previous high of 45,800 reached in October 2014.

Total trailer orders for 2017 were 308,000 units.

“We have seen pressure build on equipment markets for several months,” says Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, “and this shows Q1 is going to be hectic as fleets scramble to keep up with freight demand.”

Ake says fleets are ordering thousands of dry vans to deal with tightening trucking capacity thanks to the ELD mandate, as freight continues to grow without enough equipment to haul it. Carriers, he adds, are more frequently dropping-and-hooking to compensate for the lack of drivers and they need more trailers to manage demand.

Across the board economic growth is also keeping trailer demand strong in the other segments, according to FTR. Refrigerated freight remains robust and the flatbed market continues to surge with construction and manufacturing growth boosting demand. Higher crude prices are reviving tank trailer sales.

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Jason Cannon is the Equipment Editor for Commercial Carrier Journal and Overdrive, and is a Class A CDL holder. Reach him at jasoncannon@randallreilly.com.