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Trailer orders end 2020 ‘healthy again’ at 43,700 units

Jan. 14, 2021
Fleets continue to order dry and refrigerated vans in hefty quantities for delivery throughout 2021, FTR Intel reports, while consumer-oriented freight growth continues to rise and should continue, pushed by the second government stimulus package.

Preliminary U.S. net trailer orders remained vibrant for the fourth consecutive month, according to FTR Intel, totaling 41,700 units in December 2020. Order activity was up 6% m/m and 155% y/y with total trailer orders for 2020 totaling 297,000.

“This is another great month for trailer orders. The last four months are very similar to the order surge in August-November 2018,” commented Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “These orders have boosted the backlogs after hitting a low point in July during the throes of the pandemic. Orders should begin falling in January if the 2019 trend repeats. However, there are enough orders in the backlog for a healthy production year."

The order volume for Oct.-Dec. was the highest ever for a fourth quarter. Fleets continue to order dry and refrigerated vans in hefty quantities for delivery throughout 2021 while consumer-oriented freight growth continues to rise and should continue, pushed by the second government stimulus. FTR believes vocational trailer orders are still recovering but should improve as manufacturing grows.

“Fleet optimism continues to gain momentum,” Ake added. “Freight volumes are healthy and growing while the industry is still scrambling to handle the economic restart. The growth should continue as people get vaccinated and employment rises. I also expect manufacturing activity to intensify soon. This will lift industrial-oriented freight.”            

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