Trailer orders soar to record heights in September


Trailer orders in September soared to record levels, according to the two firms that collect and report on truck and trailer orders.

ACT Research’s preliminary estimate for September 2018 net trailer orders is 58,200 units. Final September volume will be available later this month, but ACT’s methodology allows the company to generate a preliminary estimate of the market that should be within +/- 3 percent of the final order tally.

FTR said September trailers orders were 56,000 units, exceeding the previous record from October 2014 by over 10,000 trailers.

Orders continue to exceed expectations with September units, 59 percent higher than August and up 133 percent year-over-year. Trailer orders for the past 12 months have now exceeded 400,000 units.

“Fleets reached a never-before-seen trailer order level in September,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research.

Maly said ACT’s data showed September orders shattered the previous record level of just over 47,000 orders set in October 2014. Seasonally adjusted, September volume was just under 64k, generating a seasonally adjusted annual rate of almost 760,000 units.

Year-to-date, ACT reported fleets have ordered over 295,000 trailers, more than 50 percent better than last year. While dry vans continue to post solid unit and percentage gains, both sequentially and year-over-year, preliminary results indicate that flatbeds posted the best month-over-month percentage improvement in September.

“Order strength was widespread, with nine of the 10 trailer categories in the black on a year-over-year basis,” Maly said. “Grain trailers, the sole outlier, missed a positive result by less than a percentage point. Year-to-date performance was nearly identical to the year-over-year results, an indication both consistent and longer-term industry-wide strength.”

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, said most of the order increase was in dry vans, but refrigerated van orders were healthy, as were flatbeds. There are still concerns about future raw material costs and component availability, but this did not hinder the fleets from ordering in huge numbers for future deliveries.

“The fleets have ordered an enormous amount of Class 8 trucks for 2019 and now are ordering the trailers to go with them,” Ake said. “They want to reserve build slots throughout next year, so they can have equipment ready for what is anticipated to remain a vibrant freight market. This is the equivalent of tickets going on sale for a wildly popular concert and quickly selling out. Some dry van OEMs are largely booked up for 2019.”

For more information about ACT Research, visit

For more information about FTR, visit








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