FTR reports that preliminary U.S. net trailer orders for March rose 6.4% m/m, to a respectable total of 27,400 units. March 2021 activity was +20,700 units y/y. Trailer orders for the past twelve months total 346,000.

A few large dry van fleets increased their 2021 requirements. In addition, flatbed and other vocation trailer orders remained steady. Orders should moderate in the coming months according to seasonal trends. Several van OEMs are nearly booked solid, and the 2022 order boards have not been opened due to materials and component costs uncertainty.

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, commented, “Pressure is building up in the trailer market. Backlogs are at record levels and fleets desperately need more trailers. Capacity is very tight in some areas of the country and spot rates remain near record highs. There have been reports of shortages of flatbed trailers in some regions, as the industrial and housing sectors improve.

“The trailer market is poised for another vibrant year. Production output is expected to have improved in March and orders beat expectations. The supply chain continues to present challenges, but OEMs are managing the best they can. We expect the supply chain to be better, but not perfect, in the second half of the year, allowing build rates to rise.”