BLOOMINGTON, Ind., and COLUMBUS, Ind. — The nation’s two leading transportation data, marketing analysis and forecasting firms mirrored one another on trailer orders for the month of October.
Bloomington’s FTR reported preliminary October U.S. net trailer orders at 33,600 units, up 40 percent from August and up substantially year-over-year with a 65 percent improvement.
FTR said October order activity was vibrant and right in line with expectations and that although there had been some indications the dry van market was softening, orders in this segment were steady.
Trailer orders have now totaled 290,000 units over the past 12 months, FTR reported.
ACT’s preliminary estimate for October net trailer orders is 32,000 units. Final October volume will be available later in November.
Through October, the industry has booked more than 226,000 net orders, ACT said. “Year-to-date net orders are up almost 45 percent versus last year and at October’s build rate, the current order board would take the industry through most of next year’s first quarter, ACT reported.
Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, said there was also good news on the vocational side.
“Flatbed demand continues to be sturdy as the housing and energy markets continue to prosper. Renewed energy activity is also helping tankers and lowbeds,” he said. “Demand may be off some from the great levels of the last few years, but sales should remain at high volumes. Orders are expected to be healthy for the next two months as fleets complete placing orders for 2018 requirements. The trailer market next year continues to look very positive.”
“The industry order season is off to a solid start, with a surge in dry van orders providing most of the momentum last month,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “At this point last year, the industry was in a bit of a holding pattern with pre-election jitters keeping some fleets sidelined. That helped set the stage for October’s solid 50 percent year-over-year net order comparison,” he said.
A federal appeals court ruling on GHG-2 regulations, although occurring late in the month, likely alleviated some new year market uncertainty, and could have helped finalize some fleet investment decisions as the month closed, Maly said.